11 December 1998

Sheep aid squandered

SHEEP producers lose significant sums of money each year by failing to claim subsidy payments correctly, according to the ministry.

The penalty for getting it wrong will be even higher in 1999, given the recent 55% increase in HLCA rates, it adds.

Combined claim forms for the sheep annual premium scheme and HLCA payments should be submitted accurately and on time. These are now being sent out – any farmer who has not received them by mid-December should contact their regional service centre divisional office.

The application period closes on Feb 4, 1999. To avoid penalties, valid claims must be lodged with RSCs by that date. Producers should submit forms early to allow time for mistakes to be rectified before the deadline.

To avoid pitfalls the ministry advises producers to:

&#8226 Return claims promptly.

&#8226 Ensure all producer group members sign (including husband and wife partnerships).

&#8226 Keep at least the number of animals claimed through the retention period (Feb 4 – May 15 inclusive).

&#8226 Notify RSC before moving animals to another address.

&#8226 Ensure each SAP producer, including each member of a group, claims on at least 10 eligible ewes.

&#8226 Ensure quota held is of correct ring-fence designation.