The May 15 deadline for submitting the Single Application Form (SAF) is swiftly approaching with just a week remaining for applications to be lodged.

DAERA (Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs) of Northern Ireland is urging farmers who have not yet completed their forms to act now and submit their ‘Singe Application’ as soon as possible.

So far, 15,556 applications have been received, out of which 15,506 were online submissions. 6,114 applications were made from businesses using the online service for the first time in 2017.

A DAERA representative said: “As we enter the final week of the Single Application window we are asking farmers not to wait until the last few days to submit their Single Application.

We are expecting approximately 25,000 Single Applications and to date we have received 15,556. We are urging those farmers who have yet to take any action, to avail of the support and help that we have made available.

The spokesperson added: “To help farmers further our SAF Advisory Service will be available over the weekend of May 13 and 14 – from 9am to 3pm.

“Our message to farmers, particularly those new to online applications, is to make arrangements immediately to secure your 2017 area-based scheme payments. This is one of the most important things you will do this year, so don’t take any risks.

There are still ‘one-to-one’ appointments available at your local DAERA Direct Offices, which you can book by calling the SAF Advisory Service on 0300-200-7848. More than 1,800 farmers have availed of this service, with approximately 1,550 completing their application with a DAERA advisor during their appointment.

For all farmers who have not already done so, it is imperative that they register for DAERA Online Services and receive a Government Gateway ID and password.  This information can be obtained through the department’s website.

Farmers will need to have their Government Gateway ID, password and email address in order to complete their application. This information is also necessary if they arrange a ‘one-to-one’ appointment at a DAERA Direct office.

For queries and further information, farmers are advised to visit the DAERA website.