Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister, Michelle O’Neill this afternoon announced an extension to the 2014 Single Farm Payment trading of entitlements deadline.

In a statement the minister said: “This extension of the deadline from 2 April 2014 to 2 May 2014 is in response to a significant increase in interest in entitlement trading this year. It is intended to give more time for farmers and landowners to consider the potential implications of the requirements for establishing entitlements in 2015 as highlighted in my recent statement providing an update on the definition of an active farmer.”

She continued: “While I appreciate that this deadline allows more time for those affected by the active farmer issue to consider their options, if they want to trade, I would encourage them not to leave their applications until the last minute. It is also important to note that while my department can provide an overview of the proposed new arrangements and the options that are available to farmers and landowners, those who might be significantly affected will wish to take professional advice. My department cannot advise on the specific arrangements that individual farm businesses might want to put in place in response to the emerging active farmer provisions, neither can it advise current Single Farm Payment claimants on whether trading entitlements is in the interests of the farm business.”

According to the department, applicants need to be registered and approved by DARD as a Category 1 Farm Business before they can receive SFP entitlements by transfer.

“Those wishing to transfer entitlements, but who are not already registered with the department as a farm business should contact their local DARD Office for advice in the first instance. Where appropriate, an application (Form FB1) to register as a farm business should be completed and submitted to the department,” it said.

DARD continued: “Completed applications to transfer SFP entitlements for the 2014 scheme year should be returned to SFP Branch, Trading/Entitlements Section, Orchard House, 40 Foyle Street, Derry BT48 6AT, no later than 2 May 2014. Transfer of Entitlement application forms (TE1) and Guidance Booklets are available on request from the Trading/Entitlement Section, Single Farm Payment Branch, Orchard House, tel: 028 7131 9900.”