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Successful Teagasc Single Farm Payment Campaign Nears Completion

The deadline for farmers to submit their 2012 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) applications is today, Tuesday, 15 May. In the lead up to today’s deadline, Teagasc advisers are processing up to 1,000 cases per day for farmers. At the end of the campaign Teagasc expect to have processed in excess of 37,000 applications, a similar number to last year, with almost 90% of these processed on-line. The number of applications being submitted online has increased year on year and reached its highest percentage this year.

Three features stood out in this year’s SPS campaign –

     •   Reduced mapping problems.

     •   More farmers forming companies.

     •   Loss of rented land by some applicants.

Dermot McCarthy, Assistant Director of Teagasc Advisory Services said: “In relation to maps for 2012 applications, advisers found that alterations had to be made to a greatly reduced number this year compared to previous years. The new on-line mapping system introduced by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine this year was also a great help where map alterations were necessary. Complication with maps is usually the factor that slows processing most, but this was not a significant problem this year.”

The second feature of this year’s applications was the number of company formations among dairy and tillage farms. Formation of a company has implications for quotas, entitlements and herd numbers. Each of these items has to be transferred pre single farm payment application, from the farmer to the company (generally through a lease) and this involves considerable time-consuming administration. Teagasc recommend such clients to get taxation advice from their tax advisers on undertaking such a change, as mistakes could be very costly in terms of capital gains tax etc. In some cases Teagasc advisers have sent clients back to tax advisers for further clarifications.

The third feature of this year’s application was the numbers of farmers who couldn’t get rented land to utilise entitlements. Uncertainty regarding CAP reform and likely base years for any new policy meant some farmers did not let land this year. With reduced supply and increased demand price increased substantially in many cases. Dermot McCarthy said: “Teagasc advisers will have processed a similar number of applications this year, as last year. This is despite a reduction of up to 40 per cent in the number of advisers due to retirements over recent years. This was only made possible through an earlier opening date for the scheme thus giving farmers and advisers a longer window in which to complete applications. This was all achieved while advisers maintained the business and technology programme running a greatly increased number of discussion groups. Six hundred and seventy discussion groups were facilitated by Teagasc advisers nationally with monthly meetings taking place through April and May."