Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 24 September 2017

Don't miss the May 15 Single Farm Payment deadline

Deputy Eamon Ó Cuiv's is urging a protest vote.
Deputy Eamon Ó Cuiv's is urging a protest vote.
Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

As the deadline for Single Farm Payment (SFP) applications nears this Thursday, farmers were being urged to do more to avoid missing out on the crucial payment.

"Unfortunately quite a number of applications are received after the May 15 deadline each year and in some of these cases it is not possible to make any payment," said the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney.

The Single Payment Unit of the Department of Agriculture in Portlaoise will be open to farmers until 9pm today and tomorrow and until midnight this Thursday to facilitate last-minute applications. No applications will be accepted at local Department offices.

Farmers are also being advised to switch to online applications in order to ensure that errors are minimised.

"Due to the system of in-built validations on the online facility, the options for applicants to make errors on their applications is dramatically restricted," explained the minister in a statement on the issue.

While the majority of applications are now made online, farmers posting forms must send them by express post or registered post, in order to have proof of postage.

The IFA encouraged farmers to get the application in by the Thursday deadline, pointing out that they can make still amendments to their application up to May 31.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesperson Éamon Ó Cuív has called on farmers to make their voices heard over the coming weeks before Minister Coveney makes his final submission on Ireland's implementation of CAP reform to Brussels at the end of June.

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The minister is due to outline the detail of his CAP spending proposals in Dublin today.

"Farmers have one final opportunity to demand a fair CAP deal before Minister Coveney heads to Brussels with his proposals.

"As they currently stand, small family farmers will be at a major disadvantage because of funding cuts. The minister is standing over a 3pc cut in Pillar 1 and a 14pc cut in Pillar 2," said Deputy Ó Cuív.

"Minister Coveney has given an undertaking to consider submissions from farmers and farming groups on his final proposals before he submits them to Brussels at the end of June," he added.

Worried

The Fianna Fail TD claimed that he was worried about the future for small farmers following the latest review of the Rural Social Scheme by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

"I have grave concerns about any plans to abolish or change it," said Deputy Ó Cuív.

"If the current system is changed, it could result in the withdrawal of essential services.

"The Department of Social Protection and the Department of Public Expenditure now claim that the Rural Social Scheme is out of line with Government policy and want to focus on integrating income support schemes with labour market activation.

"In other words, they want to limit the length of time a farmer can stay on this programme as well as introducing a back to work element to the scheme. However, farmers who participate in the RSS are already working, but are unable to earn enough to sustain their families," he said.

"The combination of this and new CAP measures have the potential to tip many farmers over the edge. Over the past three years, this minister has chosen to ignore the plight of the small family farmer in favour of larger business interests," he claimed.

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