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O’Neill outlines the 2012 Single Application process

15 March, 2012 - by Michelle O'Neill

Agriculture Minister, Michelle O’Neill, has appealed to farmers to make greater use of the online facility for submitting their 2012 Single Application.

The Minister was speaking today as she outlined the 2012 Single Application process.

Highlighting the benefits the online Single Application service brings to farmers and their agents, Minister O’Neill said:

"Farmers or their agents can choose to use on-line or use a paper application. I recommend the online option because it has several advantages over the paper form. The 2012 online Single Applications service, which is available from 20 March, automatically checks application for errors and omissions as the form is being completed online. This helps reduce the time my Department has to spend on processing and checking claims after they are submitted and helps to produce faster payments. The service is easy to use and available 24 hours a day, including weekends. Broadband users will also be able to access their maps, based upon the latest available aerial photographs, online in advance of them being delivered by post.”

Paper copies of the application and guidance material will be received by farmers around 28 March 2012. Urging farmers to submit their applications early, the Minister said: “Farmers who want to submit a claim to the 2012 Single Farm Payment, Less Favoured Area Compensatory Allowances and the new Countryside Management and Organic Farming Schemes, must submit a 2012 Single Application Form. Farmers should complete their forms carefully and ensure they are submitted well in advance of the closing date of 15 May 2012.”

Minister O’Neill advised that farmers will also shortly receive aerial maps based on existing field boundaries, but enhanced with ineligible features which the Department can see from the aerial photographs being used for the map improvement project. All permanent ineligible features should be captured along with trees and scrub greater than 0.1 hectares.

The Minister said: “The aerial photographs will be issued to arrive around the same time as the SAF packs being posted to farmers. They can also be accessed online approximately one week before they arrive by post. We know that some farmers are still claiming for land that is not eligible. Other farmers are not declaring all the agricultural land on their holding. It is important that all farmers refer to the latest aerial photographs and the guidance material provided when walking their farm to check for ineligible features before completing their 2012 application. I am appealing to them to get their claims right.”

Referring to the Countryside Management and Organic Farming schemes, the Minister said: “Farmers who wish to claim management payments for the claim year which started on 1 January 2012, must do so by submitting a 2012 Single Application.”

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