Skip the NI Direct Bar
Skip navigation

Deadline approaches for submitting Single Applications

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has issued a reminder to farm businesses about the closing date for the return of completed Single Application Forms.
Tuesday, 7 May 2013

She has also warned farmers that the forms are different this year and require more information from the farmer in regard to the field data.

The Minister said: “I am concerned to hear that some farmers who have already submitted Single Application forms have not filled in key columns in the field data sheet. Not all of these can be treated as obvious errors, so it is crucial for farmers to check in particular that they have completed columns I and J of the field data sheer and that they have answered question 2 on the main form (the SAF 1). My main concern is that farmers will leave their claims until the last minute and then will not be able to get the matter sorted out in time to avoid penalties.”

Completed Single Applications must be received by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on or before 15 May 2013. With less than two weeks to go before the deadline, around 11,100 applications have been received.

The Minister said: “Single Farm Payments and other area aid schemes are an important part of farm income. New mapping data has been used to pre-populate the forms this year and some farmers may not yet have opened the envelope. For that reason I would urge those farmers who have not already submitted their 2013 Single Applications to do so carefully as soon as possible and no later than 15 May.

“Applications received after the closing date are subject to financial penalty and it is important that farmers do not lose out because they are late in applying or indeed because they apply without activating their fields.”

The Minister added: “There are a number of important changes to the Single Application process for 2013 and farmers should read the guidance material in their application packs and be extra careful when completing their forms. They should pay particular attention to the information set out in their map and printed on their forms. It remains vital that farmers also use their own knowledge of the land they declare to make accurate claims. I would urge farmers to ensure that they claim only on eligible land and also remind them that they should have notified any changes to the maps via their local DARD office. This is particularly important if a farmer is claiming for more land than is indicated as being eligible on their map.”

This year, the field data sheets are only partially pre-populated and farmers must complete column G-J on the sheets to show the areas on which they wish to claim payment.

The Minister said: “We have received a number of forms on which the columns on the field data sheet to record the area being claimed for payment are not being completed. These forms will have to be returned to the farmers concerned and this will delay the validation process. In some cases late claim penalties may have to be applied. It is essential that farmers complete all sections of the form to show their claim position for 2013.”

The Minister also encouraged more farmers to use her Department’s Single Application online service. She said: “The online service is safe, secure and easy to use. It automatically checks applications for errors and omissions as the application is being completed, reducing the time my Department spends processing and checking claims after they have been submitted thus helping to speed up payment processing. Around one third of the applications received up to the present time have been submitted on-line. Maps are also available online, including the facility to measure distances and areas to inform accurate claims.”

Notes to editors:

  1. Farmers must complete a 2013 IACS/Single Application to apply for 2013 Single Farm Payment and 2013 Less Favoured Areas Compensatory Allowance schemes. Farmers who hold agreements with a Countryside Management or Organic farm scheme starting after 1 January 2010 must claim their management payment by submitting a 2013 Single Application. If farmers have any queries they should contact the helpline on 033 200 7843.
  2. All media queries should be directed to the DARD Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or email: DARD Press Office. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.