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.
Notes to Editors:
- The online Single Application online service will be available from Monday 3 March 2014 earlier this year, from Monday 3 March 2014.
- Single paper application packs are scheduled to issue mid to late March 2014.
- Farmer enquiries on the Department’s Single Application online service should be directed, in the first instance, to 028 9442 6699.