The Department of Agriculture released information regarding payment claims under the national liming programme to Farm Advisory System (FAS) advisers on Thursday.

The Department stated the information note was circulated to "address some of the queries that have been raised".

These queries related in the main to the information required to be detailed on the sales invoice in order for the Department to sanction payment.

The Department advises that all invoices must be marked paid or at a minimum have a statement attached showing the invoice has been paid and the date of payment. The "ideal situation" is where the invoice is stamped by the quarry and signed and dated by a member of staff.

Payment proof

It says that where this is not possible, then it is willing to accept ‘Paid’ being typed on the invoice with the date of payment beside it. Laser card receipts linked to the invoice will also be accepted as proof of payment.

Where a quarry has a number of branches and invoices are issued from one central location, then such invoices are required to include the branch from which the lime is sourced.

This, the Department says, is to facilitate checks to ensure the quarry in question is registered by the Department to supply lime under the scheme.

Contractor inclusion

The information note released by the Department also advises that where a contractor spreads lime, then this invoice should be submitted if it is not accounted for on the invoice relating to the supply of lime.

The terms and conditions also state that “where an invoice does not show lime spread, applicants may be subject to additional checks by the Department, (including examining geo-tagged photos of lime spread on day of application and geo-tagged photos of equipment used to spread the lime).

Type of lime

Another requirement highlighted is the description of the type of lime applied. Calcium ground limestone or magnesium (dolomitic) ground limestone are the two types of lime grant aided.

The Department outlined that this must be indicated on the invoice rather than Grolime, which it says is a certification mark. Also, granulated lime is not eligible for grant aid under the programme.

Invoice criteria

In addition to the criteria outlined above, there are also a number of other elements that an invoice should display. This includes invoices, receipts or statements being displayed on headed paper with at least the name, address, phone number and VAT number or tax reference number (TRN) of the licensed quarry.

It is important to check that the name and address on the invoice corresponds to the name and address which the Department possesses for you. The quantity of lime and the price per tonne should also be displayed.

Spreading extension

There have been calls from some quarters seeking an extension to the time frame for applying lime due to adverse weather. The deadline in place for applying lime and submitting a payment claim is 31 October.

Some farmers argue that the announcement regarding the quantity of lime approved to be applied (maximum of 40t) came late on 13 August and that there has been very few windows since then to complete the action.

It is generally the case with extending such deadlines that where a decision is made to change the date it is close to the deadline falling.