The Basic Payment Scheme opened for applications last Thursday and is one of the most important tasks in the farming calendar for a large number of farmers. In the region of 129,000 applications were submitted each year in 2020 and 2019, with this figure not expected to change significantly in 2021.
Within this, 122,745 applications were deemed eligible for a payment in 2020, with 122,513 applicants paid €1.156bn up to 19 February 2021. This includes €9.7m paid to farmers under the 2020 Young Farmers Scheme and €3.4m under the 2020 National Reserve.
There are no major changes in the 2021 scheme, which rolled over due to delays in forming the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The closing date for submitting applications has changed from the 15 May, which has been the date in recent years, to midnight on 17 May, as the 15 May falls on a Saturday. Payment of entitlements continues to be influenced by farmers satisfying greening requirements, with this making up about 44% of the total value of an entitlement.
Submission of a BPS application is required for several other schemes outside of payment of entitlements.
The Department has allocated a dedicated Lo-call number to deal with specific queries from farmers in relation to the scheme.
The Direct Payments helpdesk can be contacted at 076 1064 420, while a dedicated email address has also been allocated to enable farmers to submit queries, and the Department says replies will be made on an ongoing basis. It is DirectPaymentsCorrespondence@agriculture.gov.ie.
There are a number of important dates relating to the scheme that are outlined below: