THE DEADLINE for hardship applications under the Single Payment Scheme has been delayed until Feb 28, 2005.

DEFRA said the deadline had been extended to allow farmers time to give a more considered response. Producers are advised to submit any outstanding applications for hardship to the Rural Payments Agency.

Hardship provisions are available to farmers who can prove that a scheme should be excluded from their reference amount calculation for one or more reference years.

They may take this decision because payments under that scheme were reduced because of force majeure or exceptional circumstances.