Extending the single application deadline in Northern Ireland beyond 15 May would delay the roll-out of payments in October, DAERA Minister Edwin Poots has said.
In a statement published on Monday, Minister Poots said that the period that farmers can amend claims without penalty will be extended from 31 May to 9 June.
EU member states have been given the option to delay the single application deadline until 15 June and there have been calls for a similar extension to be granted to Northern Ireland farmers.
“Northern Ireland is the only region of the United Kingdom to make direct payments in October each year. Delaying the single application submission deadline beyond 15 May would inevitably delay these payments,” Minister Poots said.
The Lagan Valley MLA is urging farmers and form fillers to submit single applications now to ensure full payments can be made in October 2020.
He acknowledged that the closure of DAERA offices will be an inconvenience for some farmers, but maintained that it was a necessary measure to stop the spread of coronavirus.
“I’m aware that some farmers may be self-isolating or social distancing and I wish to assure you that DAERA staff are available to assist in the completion of applications.
"An enhanced telephone advisory service is now operational, given that DAERA direct offices are closed for face-to-face appointments,” Minister Poots said.
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