Flood-hit farmers in the North reminded to submit force majeure applications

Flood-hit farmers in Northern Ireland have been reminded to submit their force majeure applications to ensure they do not miss out on EU payments schemes.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has asked farmers to submit their applications as soon as possible, ahead of the September 14 deadline.

The form can be used to notify the department of force majeure issues arising for all schemes including the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC), agri-environment and woodland schemes.

An advice clinic will be held today, September 5, in the Roe Park Hotel in Limavady, Co. Derry, between 9:00am and 5:00pm.

Meanwhile, CAFRE (College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise) will also be issuing an advisory bulletin to assist farmers in their recovery efforts.

The department has also been working in partnership with the Department of Finance’s Land and Property Services (LPS) to ensure mapping information is available to support area-based schemes.

This mapping information is derived from aerial imagery captured by LPS. Both the department and the LPS plan to use this imagery to ensure that up-to-date information is available as part of its response to deal with the aftermath of the floods.

It is hoped that this information will assist the department in responding to force majeure claims. In time, the information will also make an important contribution to the speed and accuracy of payments later in the year, the department added.

DAERA has also been lobbying the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to seek permission from the EU to allow it to raise the level of advance BPS payments from 50% to 70% in October.

The department remains committed to making advance payments from October 16 to as many farmers as possible who have verified claims.