Payments under the 2021 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) have commenced on Monday 18 October, with Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue announcing that €738m will reach 114,600 farmers' bank accounts over the coming days.
The 70% advance payment rate is an increase of the standard rate of 50% normally allowed under the regulation, with 30% balancing payments due to commence on 1 December.
Minister McConalogue said: “I am delighted to confirm that advance payments under the BPS, worth €738m to 114,600 farmers, have commenced today. This is in line with previous years.
"These payments contribute greatly to maximising family farm income and are a vital support for farmers across the country.”
The Minister said it is a key priority of his and the Department of Agriculture to issue payments as quickly as possible.
It is a key priority of mine to issue payments as quickly as possible
“I know how crucial it is to support farm families and that’s why it is a key priority of mine to issue payments as quickly as possible. The Department will continue to process, as a matter of urgency, all remaining cases for payment as they meet scheme criteria.”
Direct payment helpline
The Minister and his Department have also arranged for extended opening hours for the direct payments helpline to facilitate a predicted increase in calls and allow any farmer wishing to contact the Department regarding BPS or Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) payments to do so.
The helpdesk (call 057-867 4422) will be available to answer queries from Monday 18 October to Friday 22 October up to 8.30pm each evening. Farmers can also submit any queries they may have online via www.agfood.ie.
Concluding, the Minister said: "Given the importance of scheme payments to farmers, the Department has recently written to all farmers outlining the payment schedule over the coming months.
"I am committed to ensuring that these scheme payments continue to issue in the most efficient way possible to ensure that these vital supports are delivered to farmers in a timely manner."