Page last updated at 13:36 GMT, Monday, 26 November 2012

Financial correction by European Commission

Farmers will not find 2013 easy, the Agriculture Minister said on 26 November 2012.

Michelle O'Neill said the Department of Agriculture (DARD) was about to issue maps with revised field boundaries to farmers to support them in a single application process.

In 2005, the system of subsidy to farmers was changed to a single payment based on the area being farmed.

EU officials had raised concerns about the maps being used by DARD to calculate the payment of farm subsidy.

The minister said the new maps would be much more detailed than previous ones and would show boundaries moved to where physical features such as hedges, walls or fences were present.

She said that around 70% of fields would have some change affecting their area and urged farmers to report necessary changes to their map early to avoid a delay in processing claims.

Mrs O'Neill said the new maps would have a significant impact on the 2013 single application process.

She also said that 2012 should be the final year when the Department of Agriculture would have "very large numbers of payments requiring re-calculation back to 2005".

The delays have meant taxpayers are liable to European fines of £80.6m for the years 2005 to 2009.

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