There is now less than a week left to the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) application deadline of midnight on Wednesday, 15 May. The date is also the deadline for numerous other related schemes, such as the Eco Scheme, Complementary Redistributive Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS), Areas of Natural Constraint and the Complementary Income Support for Young Farmers/Natural Reserve.

BISS applications are also the annual application for other area-based schemes, such as the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES), the Protein Aid Scheme, Organic Farming Scheme, etc. Therefore, it is of the upmost importance that farmers submit their application on time.

Advisers report greater challenges in contacting farmers in recent weeks, due to massive weather-related pressures at farm level in catching up on field work. A number of advisers also comment that some farmers mistakenly assumed a later closing date, as was the case in 2023, for the first year of the new CAP Strategic Plan.

Intense pressure

The major workload facing advisers and farmers is reflected in over 45,000 applications required to be submitted in the final 10-day window. The latest figures available from the Department of Agriculture show 83,096 applications submitted as of 6 May 2024, with over 45,000 outstanding applications based on a similar application figure of 128,712 in 2023. It is likely that a sizeable chunk of these applications will have been submitted since then, but the pressure will be high to get all applications over the line. The number of applications submitted in the final six-day window in 2023 was recorded in excess of 23,000 head. Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said his Department is keeping the application progress under review, adding that his Department is committing more resources to help deal with any issues.

Adviser concerns

Teagasc management says it is keeping the progress on BISS application under review. It states that despite applications progressing reasonably well and, despite trying to frontload work as much as possible, advisers will be busy right up to the application deadline. They are encouraging farmers who have not submitted their application, or who have not contacted their adviser, to do so as soon as possible.

The Agricultural Consultants Association (ACA) has sought an extension to the deadline, but ACA president Michael Ryan said it is unlikely it will be granted. He said the Department has told the ACA that advisers have a fortnight from 15 May to amend applications and 25 days to submit a late application, albeit with a penalty of 1% per day.

Ryan said there is more pressure in certain parts of the country, with tillage farmer applications in particular being more complex due to weather. Boyle-based agricultural adviser Noel Feeney told the Irish Farmers Journal that advisers are working around the clock and that “it’d be great if we got an extension of a few days or a week. I’m personally behind, we’re working around the clock at the minute”.


The transfer of entitlements is slowing down the process of completing BISS applications also, according to both advisers and Teagasc.

“Even if we got an extension alone to deal with entitlements, let alone BISS applications. There are a lot of entitlements flowing around there between farmers and auctioneers. Farmers have to have forms witnessed for the transfer of entitlements by solicitors or guards, and we’re waiting on a lot of those to come back too,” Feeney said.

Greater assistance

The Department of Agriculture comments that it has been helping farmers to make their applications in recent weeks through its in-person BISS clinics at locations around the country. It advises that farmers requiring assistance can also contact the direct payments helpdesk on 057-8674422.

The lines will be open for extended hours in the run up to the application deadline, as follows:

  • Between 9am and 9pm from Tuesday, 7 May, to Friday, 10 May.
  • Between 9.30am and 5pm on Saturday, 11 May, and Sunday, 12 May.
  • Between 9am and 9pm on Monday, 13 May, and Tuesday, 14 May.
  • Between 9am and midnight on Wednesday, 15 May.
  • “Staff will also be available to assist at the public counter in the Department office in Portlaoise during these extended opening hours. In-person consultations are available until half an hour before closing time on each of the days.”