Online BPS clinics: All you need to know
Today the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, confirmed plans for supports to assist farmers in making their 2018 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Transfer of Entitlements applications online.
Commenting on the matter, he said: “The recent growth in the number of online BPS applications shows more and more farmers are finding that the best way to apply for vital schemes – such as BPS and Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) – is online.
Online applications offer a range of benefits for farmers and also help my department to issue these vital payments more efficiently.
This year represents the first time – due to EU regulations – that all BPS applications must be submitted online.
In February, Minister Creed announced the opening of the BPS application facility – which opened over a month earlier than in 2017. The closing date for applications has been confirmed as Tuesday, May 15, 2018.
Almost 20,000 online applications submitted
Continuing, the minister said: “I am delighted to see that a large number of farmers have already applied online since I announced the early opening of the 2018 application period.
Almost 20,000 farmers have already made their online applications, compared to a total of 3,500 applications received at this stage last year.
“Under EU regulations, 2018 is the first year that all applications for the BPS and ANC schemes are to be submitted online.
“In keeping with these regulations, my department has been rolling out a range of technical supports for farmers who are not in a position to apply online. This will ensure that all farmers can access these vital financial supports.”
Further to existing supports available – such as telephone help-lines, how-to guides and instructional videos – Minister Creed has asked department staff to be available to meet with farmers on a one-to-one basis, in various locations throughout the country, to assist them in making their applications.
“These clinics have proven successful in the past and farmers can sit down with an official from my department and make their online BPS or Transfer of Entitlements applications on the spot,” he said.
The BPS clinics – as listed above – will run between 9:00am and 12:30pm, as well as between 4:00pm and 7:30pm, in designated locations countrywide in the next couple of weeks.
It is hoped that moving all the elements of the direct payments schemes (BPS, Greening, Young Farmers Scheme, National Reserve, and Transferring of Entitlements) online in 2018 will ensure that the department can process all applications under these schemes as efficiently as possible.
Should farmers wish to contact the department in relation to their online application, they can do so by calling: 076-1064424. This contact number relates to queries on registering for www.agfood.ie – for example, queries on lost passwords, how to register, etc.
Concluding, Minister Creed said: “I would urge all farmers to avail of the opportunity to apply for the BPS at this stage via the online system.
“It is open for farmers to do this either as individuals or through an agent. Higher levels of online applications will allow my department to continue to improve on the delivery to farmers of essential payments under schemes such as BPS and the ANC scheme.”