NI NAP derogation and accounts submission deadlines extended

Key nutrient paperwork deadlines have been extended until April 30 in Northern Ireland, Minister Edwin Poots has confirmed.

Farmers will now have until April 30, 2020, to apply for a Nutrient Action Programme (NAP) derogation and submit their 2019 fertilisation accounts.

The move comes as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic and is part of the wider effort to adhere to guidance such as self-isolating and social distancing in order to reduce the spread of the virus.

Easing pressure on food producers

It’s part of a raft of measures aimed to take pressure off farmers and their agents, who, along with the rest of the agri-food sector, are working extremely hard to ensure the food supply chain keeps moving.

On Tuesday, March 31, the minister announced that all TB and brucellosis testing would be suspended with immediate effect. On Friday, March 27, it was announced that all routine departmental inspections would also be halted.

Several of the UK’s biggest farm assurance bodies – such as Red Tractor, Quality Meat Scotland and Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assurance – have also made similar decisions to halt inspections.

The deadline to complete the Single Application has also been extended in Northern Ireland until June 9. However, farmers are advised to complete it before the original May 15 deadline to allow the payments to be made as normal in October.

Extension

Commenting on his latest announcement, Minister Poots said: “As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to consider the implications this is having on the ability of farmers to meet with agents and departmental advisors to discuss key business issues and decisions such as applying for a derogation or preparation of accounts for submission.

I am extending the deadline for doing so to April 30 to allow farmers and their agents additional time to consider the new changes brought in for 2020 and the business decisions required around that.

“I would encourage farmers to get their applications and submissions in by this date.

“These are exceptional times and I trust that this short extension will be welcomed and continues to demonstrate that we will work with our stakeholders, in full listening mode, to see how my department can help with issues as they arise.”