With Single Farm Payment applications now being issued by the Department of Agriculture, IFA Deputy President Eddie Downey has called on all farmers to ensure that their SFP application is returned to the Department of Agriculture well in advance of the 15<sup>th</sup> May deadline.
Mr. Downey stressed the importance of avoiding delays in payment and farmers should check that their details are correct. IFA is again urging the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to ensure that digitising of maps does not hold up payments.
Furthermore, Mr Downey said that inspection problems must be sorted out and it is unacceptable that farmers who are selected for inspection continue to have their payment held up. He called for better co-ordination of inspections and the avoidance of duplication as well as increased tolerance, reduced penalties and a strict adherence to prompt payment deadlines.
The IFA Deputy President highlighted the need to eliminate unannounced inspections. “IFA is demanding that no inspector arrives on a farm without reasonable prior notice. As per the Charter of Rights, he said the Department should provide notice for the majority of inspections.”
Continuing, the IFA Deputy President called on all outstanding 2012 REPS 4/AEOS and Disadvantaged Areas to be paid out immediately. “It is not acceptable that only 46% of last year’s AEOS 2 payments have been made. Excuses such as computer problems are simply not acceptable and the Minister must intervene in the matter.”
In relation to AEOS 3, Eddie Downey called for the maximum number of farmers to be allowed into the scheme. A start-up date of 1st April this year must apply with the plan lasting for a period of 5 years and 9 months.