Will the deadline for claiming area payments be extended?

There is currently no change to the deadline for submission of your Single Application Form for claiming Basic Payments and Environmental Farming Scheme payments. Please ensure that this is submitted by the 15 May 2020 deadline. DAERA is the only region to pay farmers in October each year. Delaying the Single Application submission deadline beyond the 15 May would make this very difficult and would result in a delay in your payment. However, DAERA has extended the period for when farmers can amend claims without penalty to 9 June 2020. Amendments made after 09 June may result in penalties being applied.


Agricultural agents

If you use an agent to complete your form, please note that most agents are no longer conducting face-to-face appointments therefore you should contact them in advance and as early as possible to ensure your form is competed on time.


How do I claim for the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS)?

EFS payments must be claimed on the SAF form and submitted by 15th May. Claims can be submitted from 08 April 2020 as follows:

  • For Wider Level agreements effective from 01 July 2017, 01 January 2019 or 01 January 2020
  • Higher Level agreements effective from 01 January 2018, 01 January 2019 or 01 January 2020.

Please note that even if you claimed for a Capital Item or a Non-Productive Investment (NPI) in year 1 of your agreement for which payment has been made, you are still required to maintain and claim these Capital Items/NPIs in years 2 to 5 of your EFS Scheme.

DAERA have more information and advice on how to claim EFS here.


Changes to DAERA Application processes due to COVID-19

DAERA have redesigned a number of processes to adapt to the new circumstances. This includes new applications for Young Farmer/Regional Reserve. For these cases, an application form has been made available online and must be submitted by 15 May to avoid penalty. The supporting documentation, if submitted after this date, will not attract a penalty in 2020.

Please check on the following links to see relevant Q&A’s and associated electronic forms for completion:


Three Crop Rule - Will it apply for 2020?

DAERA have responded positively to the UFU call to grant a derogation on the 3-crop rule for 2020. The DAERA Minister has announced his intention to bring forward a derogation from the Crop Diversification requirements for 2020 scheme year following extremely high levels of rainfall particularly over the December to February period with record amounts being recorded for the month of February.

The Minister has recognised the difficulties that this has caused for arable farmers with plantings delayed or abandoned. In these circumstances, and he believes that many farmers 16 could not comply with the crop diversification requirements or could do so only with great difficulty.

Therefore, he has stated that he intends to introduce a derogation from all the Crop Diversification requirements for 2020 scheme year and will bring forward the necessary legislation to the Assembly in due course for approval.


Where can I get help?

Digital Assistance with applications to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) or the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) can be accessed through the SAF Advisory Service on 0300 200 7848.

If your query is urgent you can email us at quoting your business ID and contact details and DAERA will get back to you as soon as possible.