Farmers warned to double check BPS applications for ineligible land

Farmers have been warned by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to ensure that their Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications do include ineligible land.

The department has advised farmers to double check their applications.

In 2018, all BPS applications had to be submitted online by Tuesday, May 15. Farmers are able to check and amend – where necessary – their applications online by the end of the month.

Examples of ineligible features include: buildings; roads; yards; scrub; rock; and land burnt since March 1. Farmers should also check that all parcel boundaries are aligned with the physical parcel boundary, the department added.

A statement issued by the department said: “Farmers can make amendments to their applications without penalty until May 31 (June 9 with penalty), and they should remove any land that is ineligible.

“Officials in the department are obliged by EU regulations to analyse applications in order to identify ineligible features, including land which was burnt during the specified closed season of March 1 to August 31 – and satellite imagery is being examined as part of this process.

“Agricultural and eligible forestry land identified as ineligible will be deemed ineligible for payment under the 2018 BPS and other area-based schemes,” it said.

Farmers are reminded that if they burn land after March 1:
  • They risk prosecution;
  • Such land will not be eligible for payment under the BPS and other area-based schemes;
  • Inclusion of illegally burnt land in the 2018 BPS application may result in reduced payment and penalties under this scheme and the other area-based schemes, e.g. Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme;
  • Illegal burning can also render the land of neighbours ineligible for payment where the fire encroaches onto such land;
  • Where it is identified that lands were burnt during the closed season, this may result in such land being inspected by department officials.

2018 represented the first year that all applications for the BPS and transfer of entitlements were to be made online.

Commenting on the matter, Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, previously said: “I am very happy to confirm that so many Irish farmers have met the requirement to apply online in 2018.

“My department has put a range of supports in place to help farmers make this transition, and the move to online application has proved to be very successful.”