All farmers claiming subsidy payments will have to submit a Single Application Form (SAF) online from 2018 onwards.

At the Stormont agriculture committee meeting last week, DAERA officials told MLAs that they have no option but to follow the rules set out in EU legislation. Those rules require each member state to have computerised geo-spatial aid application systems fully in place by that date. “We have to be 100% online by 2018 – it is a regulatory requirement,” insisted DAERA deputy secretary, Norman Fulton.