Why were penalties applied to farmer BPS payments in 2019?

A total of 6,497 farmers had penalties applied to their Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments in 2019.

This figure was confirmed last month, following a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy – but why were these farmers penalised?

To get to the bottom of this, AgriLand asked the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine this very question.

In its response, the department outlined that penalties under the BPS may be applied for: breaches of cross compliance regulations; where applications are received late; or where an overclaim results from an incorrect declaration of the land on the application form through over claims / dual claims, etc.

Continuing, the department said that, for the 2019 BPS, the breakdown – including cases where applicants had more than one type of penalty applied – is as follows:
  • Cross compliance – 2,534;
  • Late application – 341; and
  • Incorrect land declaration penalty – 3,816.

In its explanation, the department explained that the cross compliance penalties arise across the Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs).

The main SMRs which led to the imposition of penalties related to cattle identification and registration, sheep and goat identification and registration and the protection of watercourses, the department added.

A total of 122,846 farmers across the 26 counties received a BPS payment last year; of these some 116,349 farmers were paid with no penalty applied (96.71%).

This means that 5.29% of farmers had a penalty applied last year for the reasons outlined above.