The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, is unlikely to seek an extension to the deadline for Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications, AgriLand has learned.

Earlier today, the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, confirmed that any country that wishes to extend the May 15 deadline to June 15 can now do so.

The commission reached the decision following a number of requests from member states on the issue.

Although farm organisations have today called on Minister Creed to avail of the extension in light of concerns that some farmers may still be struggling to submit applications online; it appears that the online application process is running smoothly so far.

A spokesperson for the minister confirmed the position.

At this point applications are running substantially ahead of this time last year; therefore there is no clear requirement to extend the present deadline.

As BPS online clinics for farmers continue around the country, Minister Creed today reminded farmers that all BPS and transfer of entitlements applications must be made online this year.

“The closing date for BPS applications is now less than three weeks away and I would encourage all farmers to make their applications as soon as possible.

“I am pleased to note that already over 70,600 farmers have made their applications online,” he said.

This week’s BPS clinic schedule will include the following locations:

The minister said the clinics have proved very popular with farmers, as they have been able to sit down on a one-to-one basis with a staff member from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to complete their applications.

Extension option

This morning, Commissioner Hogan confirmed that the deadline could be extended from May 15 to June 15, 2018 – however, it is up to member states to decide whether to use the extension.

A formal implementing regulation confirming the extension will be adopted by the commission soon.

Commissioner Hogan said: “The commission’s decision to extend this deadline will benefit farmers by allowing them an additional month in which to submit their applications or claims.

“The decision responds directly to a request from a number of member states that are implementing changes to their administrative system following increased flexibility in the administration of direct payments decided in the so-called Omnibus regulation earlier in the year,” he said.