AN APPEALS process has been opened in Northern Ireland to assist farmers who believe their recently received statements of entitlement to the single farm payment are too low.

In the first instance, the farmer must lodge an appeal within 42 days for an initial review by department of agriculture staff.

Application forms are available on the DARD website or by phoning 0870 3518292.

If the farmer is still not satisfied, he may then lodge a second stage appeal for consideration by an independent panel. A charge of £50 will apply.

But, before doing any of this, DARD is urging farmers with a complaint to phone first to discuss their query.

“This may enable the matter to be resolved without the need for a formal review,” said a statement.

The same appeals procedure will apply to farmers who have applied for additional SFP under the force majeure/exceptional circumstance provisions.