15. Eligible hectares
It is important that farmers only declare eligible hectares for the purposes of an allocation of entitlements in the first year and activate those entitlements for payment. For example, if land parcels are declared for payment that are found not to be eligible this will be treated as an over-declaration and all area-based payments due (Basic, Greening and Young Farmers) will be subject to penalties. In extreme cases, this will mean non-payment or recovery of all Direct Payment for the year concerned and the following year.
An eligible hectare is defined as any agricultural area of the holding used for an agricultural activity. This means that on each hectare declared by the farmer as eligible, they must carry out an agricultural activity. Without the activity the land is not eligible and should not be declared for the purposes of the Basic Payment Scheme, either at the stage of allocating entitlements or for payment.
If land is part of your agricultural enterprise, you must not omit it from your Single Application Form as 'unclaimed' simply to meet any qualifying criteria (for example, to be classed as an Active Farmer or to qualify for the coupled support). Remember the minimum activity rules apply to every hectare of land claimed so, for example, in order to meet the stocking density requirement (for coupled support) or to meet the Active Farmer requirements. RPID will assess how requirements are met across the whole holding.