Minister opens new DARD Direct Office in Armagh

THE Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Michelle O’Neill officially opened the new DARD Direct office in Armagh this week.

The new office, in the A:tek building at Edenaveys Industrial Estate, is the latest addition to the DARD Direct network of one-stop-shops for DARD’s customers. DARD Direct offers farmers the opportunity to access the department’s farm business services in one place.

Speaking during her visit the minister said: “The delivery of the DARD Direct project in Armagh has involved a lot of hard work for staff, especially those on the front line delivering our services. Through DARD Direct we are focusing on how best to meet the needs of our customers in an ever changing and challenging business environment.

“DARD Direct offers customers greater choice in how they do business with us. From calling in person or by telephone, through to postal or electronic delivery by email and on-line services, all options are provided for. I am confident that DARD Direct is delivering, and will continue to deliver, real benefits for farmers and rural dwellers across the north.”

As part of the visit the minister met participants involved in the mapping improvement project within the Armagh Office and encouraged farmers to check their new maps as soon as they receive them. She said: “Improved maps are being issued to all farmers who submitted a Single Application Form in 2012. Farmers need to examine these maps and contact their local office to make an appointment as soon as possible if any of the information is incorrect.

“Whilst a lot of hard work has gone into updating the maps on the basis of the latest available aerial photography, only farmers can fully know the latest conditions on the ground. It is important to provide us with any corrections which may need to be made as this will help to prevent delays with the processing of your 2013 Single Farm Payment applications.”

If changes are required farmers must complete and return a correction form, or arrange a visit to the local DARD Direct office where staff will be on hand to provide advice and assistance. Farmers are advised to act as soon as they receive their map. Appointments can be arranged by contacting DARD Direct on 0300 200 7848.