€1.1 billion paid so far under BPS as balancing payments begin

The next installment of payments under the 2017 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening has now begun, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, confirmed earlier today.

Commenting, the minister said: “In mid-October my department began issuing 70% advance payments under the BPS to farmers across the country.

“Regular pay runs have been in place since to ensure that these payments are processed as efficiently as possible. I am happy to confirm that the 30% balancing payments under the BPS have now commenced on schedule.”

The rollout of balancing payments brings the total paid under the Basic Payment Scheme to €1.106 billion, while 121,000 farmers have received a payment so far. Also, over 90,000 farmers have been paid a total of €194 million under the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) Scheme to date.

Noting this, Minister Creed added: “In recent months my department has been issuing payments to farmers across a range of schemes including BPS, ANC, Knowledge Transfer, GLAS, and the new Sheep Welfare Scheme.

I am very aware of the importance of these schemes for the farming community, and they provide a significant financial boost for both individual farmers and the wider rural economy.

Payments under the 2017 National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme are also set to commence in the coming week following payment of the BPS balancing payment, the department has revealed.

Minister Creed confirmed that his department is continuing to prioritise the processing of outstanding cases. He noted: “I can confirm that every effort continues to be made to clear for payment the small percentage of outstanding cases.

“Regular pay runs will continue in December in order to process cases as quickly as possible. I am particularly pleased that we have continued to process payments at a rate that compares very favourably to the systems in place in other member states.”

Concluding, Minister Creed urged farmers who may have outstanding queries from his department to respond as soon as possible.

“In this way I can ensure the quickest turnaround of cases for payment,” the minister said.

It remains a key priority for my department to process these payments in as timely a manner as possible.

“With this in mind, my department will continue to roll out online application for BPS to all farmers in 2018.

“In 2017, some 114,000 farmers applied online and the steady growth in online applications reflects the fact that more and more farmers are availing of the benefits that online application offers.”