Committee Urges Farmers to Apply for Single Farm Payments Online

Synopsis: The Assembly Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has today called on local farmers to consider submitting their applications for Single Farm Payments (SFP) online. This year for the first time, the new online service will be available from early March 2014, approximately three weeks before the traditional paper applications are sent to farmers.

Session: 2013/2014

Date: 05 March 2014

Reference: AGR 08/13/14

The Assembly Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has today called on local farmers to consider submitting their applications for Single Farm Payments (SFP) online. This year for the first time, the new online service will be available from early March 2014, approximately three weeks before the traditional paper applications are sent to farmers.

Committee Chairperson Paul Frew MLA said: ““The Single Farm Payment (SFP) is a crucial part of a farmer’s annual income and can be an important economic driver for rural businesses and communities in general. The Committee is therefore very supportive of any system that provides a faster and more accurate application and payment process for farmers.

“One of the main benefits of the online system, unlike the traditional paper method is the capacity for the electronic form to instantly pick up on any errors or omissions. This allows applicants to make the necessary corrections and be reassured that once the form is submitted, the application process is well underway.

Deputy Committee Chairperson Joe Byrne MLA added: “The Committee is well aware of the negative impact late payments can have on farmers, in severe cases it can cause substantial financial hardship and stress. The fact that the Minister has committed to making 90% of payments in December 2014,  if the proportion of 2014 claims submitted online goes up to 40%, will hopefully prove to be an incentive.

“We would urge all farmers to contact their local DARD Direct office or a local MLA to find out more about the online system and to seek any technical advice or support they may need.

ENDS

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