UFU welcomes extension to Nitrates Derogation Applications deadline

Thursday, 12 March, 2015

Ulster Farmers’ Union President Ian Marshall has welcomed the announcement from Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill and Environment Minister Mark H Durkan to extend the deadline for submission of nitrates derogation applications from the 1 March 2015 to 31 May 2015.

Ian Marshall said: “Farmers will very much welcome the extended deadline as it will give those who haven’t yet applied for a derogation time to evaluate their situation and consider their options carefully once their Single Application Form has been submitted. It is also very encouraging that both Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill and Environment Minister Mark H Durkan have recognised the issues on the ground and the uncertainty that many farmers are currently experiencing due to the changes in CAP reform this year.

“A nitrates derogation allows a higher organic nitrogen loading of up to 250 kg N/ha/year on some farms, all other farms in Northern Ireland must comply with an organic nitrogen loading limit of 170 kg N/ha/year. Due to complexities of the new basic payment scheme this year, many farmers have found that there are changes to the land parcels that they are farming.  If land is no longer available to a farmer, they could find themselves over the 170kgN/ha/year limit for the first time and therefore may wish to consider applying for a derogation to ensure compliance with the Nitrates rules.  A derogation will also provide some relief for the more intensively stocked farms when complying with the Nitrates Action Programme and in some circumstances it is the most cost effective way of complying for certain farm businesses."

Ian concluded: “I would urge any farmer who feels that they may need a derogation to seriously consider their options now and if necessary submit an application to NIEA by the 31st May closing date.”