A combination of a new CAP payment mechanism, later payment dates and some teething issues, are heightening discussions regarding scheme payments.

The Irish Farmers Journal has been contacted by significant numbers of advisers and farmers in the last week, raising queries, or citing concerns in the main, over their payment across the Basic Income Support for Sustainability or Eco Schemes.

Some farmers are under pressure to receive payments due to high costs, while others are coming to terms with the new payment regime and struggling to see how their payment compares to previous years.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that calls to the Department of Agriculture’s helpdesk are running much higher than in previous years, with a quarter of the increase believed to be related to queries over Eco Scheme payments and how payments across BISS, CRISS and Eco schemes relate to previous years.

Farmer frustrations in some cases boil down to advisers having lower oversight of issues due to teething issues, with the IT system and challenges in identifying what is holding up payments. The Department is carrying out payment runs on a weekly basis, with almost €9m paid to over 2,700 farmers last week under BISS.

Payment runs are being carried out across all schemes. The Irish Farmers Journal also understands that the processing of some payments by banks appears to be taking longer, with a timeline of three to five days in some cases.

Scheme deadlines

Meanwhile, there are important deadline dates for two schemes this week. The deadline for submitting applications for the Soil Sampling and Analysis Programme is Friday, 10 November. There have been approximately 6,500 applications as of 6 November 2023.

Friday, 10 November, is also the final day for submitting payment claims under the National Farm Safety Measure. A total of 4,738 expressions of interest were received by the deadline of Friday, 27 October 2023.

To date, 1,033 participants have submitted applications for payment, meaning that there is a significant number of farmers who will forego grant aid if they fail to make a payment claim.