Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has announced that the 2013 Single Application Form (SAF) process is now underway.
The Minister is urging farmers to make full use of their most up to date maps and available online resources when completing their applications.
In recent months the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has issued new maps to farmers and information from these will be used to pre-populate the 2013 forms which are being issued to them. In addition, this year for the first time, DARD is also providing farmers with a Maximum Eligible Area (MEA) for each field to help them to complete their forms more accurately and only claim for land that is eligible.
Announcing the opening of the 2013 SAF process Minister O’Neill said: “There are a number of important changes to the Single Application process for 2013 and I urge farmers to be extra careful when completing their forms this year. They should pay particular attention to the information set out on their updated scheme maps and that which is pre-printed on their SAF.”
The Minister also reminded farmers of the benefits of using DARD’s online services to submit their claim and once again encouraged farmers to make greater use of them during the SAF period. She said: “Although farmers and their agents can choose to submit their application online or paper, I recommend the online option because it has a number of advantages over the paper form.
“The 2013 online Single Application service, which is now available, will automatically check for errors and omissions as the application is being completed. In turn, this will help reduce the amount of 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 is available 24 hours a day and I encourage as many farmers as possible to get online and give it a try. Farm maps are also available online.”
Farmers who wish to submit a claim for the 2013 Single Farm Payments, Less Favoured Area compensatory Allowances and the new Countryside Management and Organic Farming schemes must submit a 2013 SAF before 15 May 2013.