Less than two weeks until the deadline, almost half of Northern Ireland's Single Application forms are yet to be received.

Figures confirmed this morning by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, stated that just 13,000 applications had been received. It compares to an approximate 25,000 received last year.

A department spokesman urged farmers not to leave their Single Application until the last minute, warning that extra steps may be required this year.

Don’t Assume It Will Be Straightforward’

Speaking last week, Jason Foy - head of area-based schemes at DAERA - appealed to farmers not to take “unnecessary risks” by assuming their application will be straightforward.

“With the closing date of May 15 fast approaching, I would urge farmers to begin completing their online Single Application now.

“There may be additional actions that you may need to take and this will only become clear once you begin the application process,” Foy added.

Getting help

Foy said that there are a number of options available for farmers requiring assistance.

"We’re running a series of workshops in the CAFRE [College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise] campuses where farmers can book a place, come along and learn how to complete their applications.

"Farmers can actually submit their applications on the night if they wish. These workshops will continue until May 10, and are free of charge to attend."

Application progress can be saved and picked up at a later date.

Help can also be sought over the phone on: 0300-200-7848; or through the web chat facility within the online application system.

The closing date for submitting the Single Application form is midnight Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Applications submitted after this date will incur a penalty.