DARD Flies In With Farm Payments

News Image

NI farmers are really getting on the map with news that the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) is again to use aerial photography to assess eligibility for EC Single Farm Payments.

DARD is delivering the Single Application Form (SAF) packs for 2011 this week following the distribution of a special pack containing a booklet 'Guide to Land Eligibility' and aerial photographs of land claimed in 2010.

A Departmental spokesman said: "We want farmers to have the best possible information available when completing their 2011 application for Single Farm Payment (SFP).

"It is important that they only claim for eligible land, and the photographs and booklet will assist in identifying land that may not be eligible.

"Later this year farmers will receive a new map. In the meantime, farmers should make appropriate deductions for ineligible land from their 2011 claim, by walking their fields and consulting the photographs, and they should inform the Department of mapping changes using the forms provided," he said.

The spokesman continued: "The Department will take account of these notifications when preparing the new maps.

"As it is not realistic to complete this work in time for the 2011 application process, the Department will not issue new maps at this stage but will take the notified changes into account during 2011 inspections."

EU farm ministers adopted a fundamental reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and introduced a new Single Payment Scheme (SPS) for direct subsidy payments to landowners.

The system of subsidy applies throughout the European Union according to rules agreed between the member states.

The scheme is intended to support its farm sector by removing the link between subsidies and production of specific crops.

But the farm subsidy is not without problems as, last summer, Europe sought the return of £60m for payments made in error to farmers in Northern Ireland.

The problems were discovered by European auditors who were sent to Northern Ireland to carry out spot checks on some of the individual subsidy claims made by farmers.

In total Europe provides €300m to local farmers annually while the individual subsidy claims are administered locally by DARD and when the European Commission sent in its team of auditors, they discovered many of the maps farmers had sent in were not accurate.

The hope is that this year's maps and claims will be more accurate and prevent further fines being imposed.


Northern Ireland's level of Single Farm Payment is already eclipsing that of all the other parts of the UK - with the payment per hectare at €360 as compared to the average UK rate of €262 - being much more than either Scotland, Wales or England.

The big difference on the local rate of SFP was mostly "historical" and related to the way in which such payments had been claimed by the agricultural sector, but, put into context, farmers in Greece are also paid a huge €550 per hectare while Latvia is paid just €90.

This focuses on consumers and taxpayers, while giving farmers the freedom to produce what the market wanted.

The payment is linked to meeting environmental, public, animal and plant health and animal welfare standards and the need to keep land in good agricultural and environmental condition.

Ongoing CAP reform for the period 2014 to 2020 is expected to see the overall budget reduced and see a move toward limiting CAP and possibly the imposition of a flat rate Single Farm Payment system too.

See: NI Farm Payments 'Eclipse UK'


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

07 October 2005
Progress being made towards single farm payments
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has outlined progress towards making single farm payments. DARD confirmed that "very significant progress" had been made on validating applications for the Single Farm Payment and work would continue with a view to completing the process as quickly as possible.
26 November 2010
NI Farm Payments 'Eclipse UK'
With a series of meetings due to be held in the New Year for NI farmers to discuss the coming reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), a senior European Union official has been outlining the EC's view on the way ahead.
22 September 2015
Rise In Number Of Workplace Deaths
The number of workplace deaths has risen rapidly to 23 during 2014/15, according to the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI). This compares to eight workplace deaths in 2013/14 and is significantly higher than the last five-year average of 15 deaths per year. The HSENI report also shows major injuries are down by 6.
22 February 2013
Other News In Brief
Northern Ireland Start For Giro d'Italia The Grande Partenza or 'Big Start' of the Giro d'Italia, one of professional cycling's three Grand Tour events, will take place over three days from 10-12 May 2014 and involves routes in Belfast, Armagh and Dublin.
10 September 2014
Work-Related Deaths Drop Almost 50%
The number of work-related deaths in Northern Ireland has dropped by almost a half, according to the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI), but the body maintains there is no room for complacency.
20 November 2008
Farmers In Line For Early Single Farm Payments
Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew has announced that 82% of 2008 Single Farm Payments will be paid next month. The Minister (pictured) said that the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s aims to complete 80% of payments before Christmas, 82% by the end of December and 87% by the end of January 2009.
01 October 2013
Minister Confirms Commitment To Farm Safety
Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill has reiterated her commitment to farm safety during a debate in the Assembly. The Minister said she would work in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive and key stakeholders to raise awareness of farm safety amongst the farming community.
08 November 2011
Minister Facing Farm Subsidy Questions
There's a major cash injection on the way for one of NI's pivotal Executive departments. Taxpayers will foot a £100m bailout to the Department of Agriculture & Regional Development (DARD) because of farm subsidies.
12 October 2011
Food Board On Way As CAP Reform Published
As farmers across Northern Ireland digest the news from Europe that means they will lose out on millions of pounds in subsidy payments, the NI Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill has backed a proposed new, over-arching food body.
12 March 2010
NI Dairy Sector Investments Revealed
The Stormont Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has announced two investments, totalling £39million, aimed at benefiting local dairy processing industry. The projects were announced as the Minister visited Dale Farm's facility at Dunmanbridge near Cookstown, where she officially opened a £5million state of the art cheddar cheese making facility.
02 July 2002
Yoghurt deal churned out at Dale Farm
Dale Farm has announced the acquisition of the specialist Scottish yoghurt and health drinks manufacturer, Rowan Glen Dairy Products.
06 June 2008
Farmers 'Notebook' To Lessen Paperwork Burden
A campaign to advise farmers that legislation that requires record keeping of on-farm activities need not be too much of a burden has been launched. The Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland (FSANI) has explained this can be achieved in a simple and easy way, without adding to farmers' administrative burden.
14 November 2003
DARD issues guidance on farm 'benchmarking'
A DARD booklet, ‘ Benchmarking Farm Performance in 2002/03’ aims to meet the growing demand for reliable data which farmers can use to assess the current performance of their farm businesses.
05 April 2002
Farming food goes weekly at St. George's Market
Belfast's award-winning Farm and Speciality Food Market goes from strength to strength, with the introduction of weekly trading at St. George's Market from Saturday April 6.
13 March 2002
Lodge claims for Winter Fuel Payments now say NICAB
With the last day for making a claim for a Winter Fuel Payment this year set as March 31, the Northern Ireland Citizens Advice Bureau (NICAB) has urged people to lodge their claims in good time. This year’s payment is £200 and is made to people aged 60 or over providing they are eligible.