BPS applications running 5,000 ahead of same time last year

Around 33,000 applications for the Basic Payments Scheme (BPS) have been made so far – roughly 5,000 ahead of the same date last year.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine confirmed that, as of Friday last, March 27, almost 33,000 applications had been lodged.

This compares to a figure of around 28,000 applications for March 27, 2019.

The application process for 2020 opened on February 21. The application process for the 2019 BPS opened one day earlier, on February 20 last year.

The closing date for the scheme will be May 15. EU member states were given the option of extending that date until June 15 in light of Covid-19, but the department here chose not to avail of that extension.

In a statement to AgriLand earlier this month, a department spokesperson said: “The department does not consider that it would be in the best interest of farmers to seek an extension of time for the submission of BPS applications.

Any delay in applications for the BPS will inevitably have a knock-on impact on the timing of payments, particularly in circumstances where administrative systems are stretched because of Covid-19.

“This year, it will be more important than ever that the payments upon which farm livelihoods depend are made on time. It will be a priority for the department to maintain all of the administrative and regulatory systems necessary to achieve that objective,” the spokesperson argued.