Online applications to the BPS scheme total 87% in 2017

A total of 87% of farmers decided to submit their application to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) online in 2017, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has revealed.

Minister Creed confirmed that Irish farmers have made a significant shift to the online method of applying for the annual BPS scheme.

“I am greatly encouraged by the very significant number of farmers applying online for their basic payment this year.

87% of farmers availed of the online option for the 2017 scheme, a number which far exceeds the EU target of 75% for this period.

13,000 extra farmers made the move online, making it a total of 113,600 online applications which puts Ireland well on track to meeting the 100% online target for 2018,” Minister Creed said.

Under EU regulations, member states are required to move to 100% online applications by 2018.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine ran a number of initiatives this year to assist farmers with the online application process, he added.

“For example, officials from my department have been in a number of locations around the country in recent weeks, meeting directly with farmers on a one-to-one basis and helping them through the online BPS application process.

The feedback received from farmers using this service has been very positive.

The department will continue to work with farmers, farm bodies and agricultural advisers to ensure that the continued roll out of online BPS application will deliver real benefits for farmers, Minister Creed added.

“The benefit that continues to be available to online BPS applicants this year is the preliminary checks.

“These preliminary checks afford online applicants the opportunity to address any dual claims, over-claims and overlaps identified on online applications within specified time-frames to ensure prompt payment with the avoidance of penalties,” he said.

Nearly all Single Applications submitted online in the North

Meanwhile, there has been a record uptake of online Single Applications in Northern Ireland, according to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

A total of 99.53% of farmers submitted their application online before the deadline of midnight on Monday, May 15.

The total number of Single Applications received by the deadline was 24,901, of which 24,783 were submitted via DAERA’s online service; 9,557 farmers switched to online application in 2017.

This represented an increase of 37.53% in online applications this year compared to 2016 levels, according to Head of Payments at DAERA, Jason Foy.

“This positive result demonstrates that farmers have recognised the advantages of online application over paper, such as reducing the possibility of simple errors and reducing the time taken to carry out validation checks.

DAERA staff have assisted more than 3,000 farmers through appointments at DAERA direct offices, in addition to providing telephone and online support.

“Our digital services team have delivered an online system that is intuitive and easy to use and I would encourage farmers to continue to use the various online tools available to them to aid their businesses,” he said.