Almost 22,000 BPS applications submitted to date

There has been a total of 21,836 applications submitted for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) as of Monday, March 25.

The scheme was opened by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, on Wednesday, February 20.

The closing date for BPS applications is Wednesday, May 15, and all farmers and advisors have been urged by Minister Creed to avail of the early opening of the application process rather than waiting until nearer the closing date.

Commenting at the opening of the scheme, Minister Creed said: “To help farmers submit their application online in 2019, I have ensured the early opening of the BPS application facility.

This will provide ample time for farmers to familiarise themselves with the online application facility and to submit their applications before the deadline.

“Officials from my department will also be providing a range of supports to farmers over the coming weeks and months, including a series of BPS clinics in locations throughout the country.

“Further supports, such as telephone helplines, will also be in place. These supports will ensure that all farmers are able to access these important payments.”

Among the benefits available to online applicants is the availability of preliminary checks for online applications. These preliminary checks allow online applicants to be advised of certain errors at an early stage and to correct any such issues without penalty.

The minister noted that “preliminary checks have proved very successful in previous years, and they represent one of the many advantages for farmers that the BPS applications online system offers”.

All elements of the direct payments schemes – BPS, Greening, Young Farmers Scheme, National Reserve, transferring of entitlements, and the Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme – are now online.

The department says that this is to ensure that it can process all applications under these schemes as efficiently as possible.

Over 10,000 farmers benefited from preliminary checks in 2018, thereby reducing their risk of penalties.