Farmers have been reminded to complete their online applications for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) by Monday, May 15.
The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, today said that this deadline is important to ensure that farmers benefit from the maximum payment under the BPS scheme.
“My department is urging all farmers who have not yet submitted their BPS application to do so at the earliest possible date.
Given the range of benefits which online applications provide for farmers, I would also like to encourage farmers to apply online via www.agfood.ie.
“In 2016, over 102,000 farmers applied online for their BPS, and this shows that more and more farmers are finding that the best way to apply is online,” he added.
Farmers have also been urged to lodge their applications by May 15 in order to avoid penalties that must be applied where applications are received late.
Given the significance of the Basic Payment to farm income, it is imperative that farmers allow themselves enough time to complete the form accurately and to make sure it is submitted on time.
The minister also pointed out that online applicants will also get the benefit of preliminary checks.
These checks will allow farmers the opportunity to address any dual claims, over claims and overlaps identified in online applications within specified time-frames after the BPS closing date without penalty.
“These checks are available for online applicants only. Last year, approximately 5,000 farmers got the benefit of a preliminary check,” the Cork-based TD said.
Given the importance of the May 15 deadline, the department has put in place a number of additional supports for farmers and agents.
To assist farmers applying, a number of supports are being provided.
Department staff are available at the following locations to accept paper applications or to sit down with farmers on a one-to-one basis and help them to submit their online application on the spot.
- At government offices in Portlaoise, Co. Laois.
- Between 9.30am and 9:00pm from Monday, May 8, to Friday, May 12.
- Between 9.30am and 5:00pm on Saturday, May 13, and Sunday, May 14.
- Between 9.30am and 12:00 midnight on Monday, May 15.
- At the department’s offices in Farnham Road, Co. Cavan.
- Between 9.30am and 5.30pm on May 10, 11 and 15.
- At the department’s offices in Derryhallagh, Drumshanbo
- Between 9.30am and 5.30pm on May 8, 12 and 15.
A dedicated help desk
The department has also put in place a dedicated telephone help-desk to assist farmers applying online.
The help-desk can be contacted at: 0761-064420. This help-desk will be available to farmers for extended hours in the run up to the BPS deadline.
It will be open each evening until 9:00pm from Monday, May 8, to Friday, May 12. The help-desk will be open from 9.30am to 5:00pm on Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14.
Opening hours will also be extended until midnight on Monday, May 15.