NI farmers urged to complete Single Application now

The Minister for Agriculture in Northern Ireland, Edwin Poots has urged all farmers and agents to continue to submit their 2020 Single Applications as soon as possible.

Poots confirmed that the closing date remains May 15, but extended the period that farmers can amend claims without penalty to June 9.

He explained: “I am aware that the European Commission has offered EU member states the option to delay the Single Application deadline until June 15.

Northern Ireland is the only region of the UK to make direct payments in October each year. Delaying the Single Application submission deadline beyond May 15 would inevitably delay these payments.

Minister Poots added: “In these difficult times, the importance of a secure, domestic food supply has never been clearer. The financial security of farm businesses is a critical link in that supply.

“I, therefore, urge farmers and their agents to submit their Single Applications now to ensure farm payments can be made in October 2020.

“Farmers rely heavily on their direct payments, which also help to sustain the wider rural economy. I do not believe, therefore, that it would ultimately benefit farmers in Northern Ireland if I were to introduce similar measures at this time.

“I am, however, extending the period when farmers can amend their claims without penalty to June 9.”

Need help?

Acknowledging the fact that some farmers may well be self-isolating or social distancing, the Minister said that assistance is available in such circumstances.

He added: “I’m aware that some farmers may be self-isolating or social distancing and I wish to assure you that DAERA staff are available to assist in the completion of applications.

“An enhanced telephone advisory service is now operational given that DAERA Direct offices are closed for face-to-face appointments.

I acknowledge the closure of DAERA Direct offices may inconvenience some farmers, but please be assured that such decisions are taken to protect the spread of coronavirus and save lives. We are in this together.

Farmers can make their application through the DAERA Online Services portal.

DAERA’s Single Application and Map Service and Entitlement Transfer Service will remain open for farmers to submit their 2020 applications.

The Single Application Advisory Service can be contacted on: 0300-200-7848; or alternatively, via email on: [email protected].

These services are available Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm.