Take care with your single payment application. It has landed a lot of farmers in trouble. Denis Lehane reports some case studies
With the deadline just around the corner for the submission of the single payment application (next Tuesday, May 15), we review some more problems faced by farmers last year.
In the vast majority of cases, farmers will get through the process without too much bother. But it all goes horribly wrong for some — as shown in these examples which eventually found their way into parliamentary questions in the Dáil.
All of these cases fell foul of the inspection system.
nDuring the course of a particular ground eligibility/cross-compliance inspection, discrepancies were uncovered with regard to a number of parcels, which resulted in the total claimed area of 184.31 hectares being reduced to 62.13 hectares.
As the difference between the area claimed and the area found was greater than 50%, the person named had no entitlement to payment under the 2010 Schemes.
Furthermore, an administrative fine was levied on the farmer to be recovered against future single payments.
This example showed that trouble with direct payments can hang over a farmer for many months.
Following inspection, it was Jan 10, 2011, before he was formally notified he had no entitlement to payment.
Advised of the right to seek a review of this decision, he quickly submitted this request on Jan 20 , 2011, but it was Jun 10, 2011, before a decision, upholding the original findings, was sent to the farmer.
nA number of parcels of land belonging to a Kerry farmer were deemed not to be farmed by the applicant, during an inspection.
The result was that this particular farmer felt the pain in the worst place possible, in his pocket.
The discrepancies resulted in his claimed area of 28.71ha being reduced to a found area of 5.71ha.
As the difference between the area declared and the area found was greater than 50%, under EU regulations, no payment was issued.
nIn Co Clare, a farmer selected for a ground eligibility/cross-compliance inspection fell by the same sword.
During the course of this inspection, discrepancies were recorded in relation to a number of parcels.
These discrepancies resulted in this farmer’s claimed area of 33.15ha being reduced to a found area of 25.43ha.
In this case, as the difference between the area declared and the area found was greater than 20%, under EU regulations, no payment was issued.
nWhen a Co Kerry application was selected for a ground eligibility/cross-compliance inspection, discrepancies were found that resulted in a claimed area of 15.14ha being reduced to 7.4ha.
As the difference between the area declared and the area found was more than 50%, no payment was due in respect of the 2011 scheme, and an administrative fine was applied.
nIn a single payment application from Co Carlow, dual claims were identified in respect of all five land parcels declared by the farmer.
Following correspondence with the Department, it emerged that the lands in question were leased by the other claimant from the person named for 12 months.
Consequently, the leased-out lands were not eligible for inclusion in the Single Payment Scheme, and no payment was due because the dual-claimed parcels exceeded 20% of the application.
nA Co Tipperary farmer who submitted records to the department as part of a cross- compliance nitrates inspection, also saw a deduction in his payment.
Under nitrates regulations, farmers are required to maintain records for each calendar year and to keep these records for five years. During an evaluation of these records, the maximum fertilisation rate for available phosphorus was found to have been exceeded, in contravention of the Nitrates rules, and a 3% penalty was recorded.
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