IFA President John Bryan said with less than half of the 125,000 Single Farm Payment applications lodged with the Department of Agriculture, farmers should move immediately to get their applications in. He said the closing date for applications is Monday, May 16th.
He said, “This is the most important piece of paperwork in 2011 as it is the entry form for all direct payments that farmers are eligible for including the Single Farm Payment, REPS 4, AEOS, Disadvantaged Areas, Suckler Cow Welfare, Sheep Grassland Scheme, Forestry and other smaller schemes.”
The IFA President said farmers should pay special attention to maps and make sure they apply on eligible land area only. He said farmers should double check the maps areas as many maps sent out this year do not contain or properly highlight the changes made last year.
John Bryan said where possible farmers should complete their application online as this will speed up processing and reduce errors. Where applications are posted, farmers should ensure they are posted in good time to reach the Department prior to May 16th. In addition, farmers should obtain proof of postage by either a Swiftpost receipt or registered post receipt, which will definitively confirm that the application was posted on time.
Mr Bryan said direct payments are absolutely critical in terms of family farm income and make up a significant proportion of net income for most farm enterprises.
He said IFA will be insisting that all payments are made on time in 2011 and the delays encountered last year due to maps and inspections are not repeated.