113,000 farmers to receive advance BPS payments worth €732 million

Advance payments under the 2018 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), including Greening, worth €732 million have begun issuing to approximately 113,000 farmers.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, announced the news today (Tuesday, October 16).

Commenting on the announcement, he said: “These payments are a vital support for farmers across the sector in maximising cash flow and are particularly welcome at this time, in light of the adverse weather conditions experienced on Irish farms this year.

A key priority for my department was to get these payments out to the greatest number of farmers possible at the earliest date allowed under EU legislation, subject to the necessary requirements of the schemes being met.

“With this in mind, I also secured EU Commission agreement for a higher advance payment of 70% for 2018 – rather than 50%, as provided for in the EU legislation.”

The minister added that the 113,000 farmers paid in this initial tranche of payments represents an increase over the 111,000 farmers paid at this stage last year.

In addition, an additional €29 million has issued this year compared to the initial advance payment of €703 million in 2017.

“Some 93% of eligible applicants for the BPS have now been paid in this first tranche, and the success of our move to full online applications this year has helped us to deliver further efficiencies in the processing of payments which are of direct benefit to farmers,” Minister Creed noted.

Meanwhile, payments under the 2018 Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme (ANC) also continue to issue as cases are cleared for payment.

The minister said: “The advance BPS payment and the ANC payments taken together mean that almost €935 million has now issued to Irish farmers in the last month.

“I have also secured an additional €23 million for farmers in the ANC allocation for 2019, bringing the total budget for that scheme to €250 million.”

Maximising payments

Concluding, the minister reiterated his determination to ensure that payments to farmers are maximised.

I can assure farmers that payments will continue to issue under both schemes as individual cases are cleared, and regular pay runs will be in place over the coming weeks to ensure this.

“Farmers who have been contacted by my department with queries in relation to their applications should also respond at their earliest convenience in order to facilitate payment,” he added.

In order to facilitate farmers who wish to contact the department in relation to their BPS or ANC payments, extended hours are now in place for the direct payments helpline.

From Wednesday, October 17, to Saturday, October 27, farmers can ring the department on: 076-1064420 between 9:00am and 8:30pm on weekdays. On Saturdays, calls will be accepted between 9:00am and 1:00pm.

The minister confirmed that balancing payments under the 2018 BPS – as well as payments under the Young Farmers Scheme and National Reserve – are scheduled to commence issuing from the start of December, followed by payments under the coupled Protein Aid Scheme.