The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced the opening date for the £300 million Single Applications and Map Service and the Entitlements Transfer Service.

The services will open on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, and DAERA is encouraging farm businesses to apply early as “these payments represent the main income for many local farmers”.

Director of area-based schemes division at DAERA, Dr. Jason Foy, said the department is asking farm businesses to submit their applications as soon as possible to “allow adequate time to check all their information and avoid unnecessary penalties”.

Foy said Entitlement Transfer applications must be submitted by the closing date of Tuesday, May 2, 2023.

Single Applications, he said, must be submitted by Monday, May 15, 2023, to avoid late claim penalties. The last date to submit applications is Friday, June 9, 2023.

“If they have any problems or questions, farmers can get support from our advisory service helpline on 0300 200 7848, our website or at a local DAERA Direct office,” Foy said.

Single Application

The Single Application is the method for claiming any of the following schemes:

  • Basic Payment Scheme (BPS);
  • Young Farmers’ Payment (YFP);
  • Regional Reserve Entitlement allocation or top up (as a Young Farmer or New Entrant);
  • Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS);
  • Farm Woodland Premium Scheme (FWPS);
  • Farm Woodland Scheme (FWS);
  • Forest Expansion Scheme (Annual Premia);
  • Small Woodland Grant Scheme (SWGS);
  • Protein Crops Scheme.

DAERA said that farmers should also use the Single Application and Map Service to notify it of any changes to their land in 2023. This, the department said, should be done as early as possible to avoid delays in payment.

The department has also confirmed that the Protein Crops Scheme has been extended for another year in 2023 following the success of the two-year pilot.

Farmers will receive £330/ha in addition to their basic payment and the environmental benefits from the scheme include reducing the need to import animal feed and the associated carbon footprint, the department said. 

The scheme, it said, represents an important investment in promoting sustainable and diversified agriculture in Northern Ireland. The maximum funding available under this scheme is £330,000 in 2023.

From 2023, DAERA has also announced a new ‘Secure Messaging Service’ as a way of communicating with its customers. The new service will be rolled out gradually to replace previous means of communication, such as letters.

Customers will be contacted directly by DAERA when a new secure message is available for them to view online. This new service, the department said, is secure, convenient and environmentally friendly.