Farmers affected by new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) maps for 2019 need to ensure that they check the maximum eligible area (MEA) when they make their application. This was the key message coming from the Department at its Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) rebuild information meetings in Louth.
One farmer told the Irish Farmers Journal that he saw a slight change in his eligible area in one field that went from 3.9ha to 4.01ha. He noted that if he did not adjust his claim area to the new larger area, then he would not benefit from it.
“If you increase your Maximum Eligible Areas (MEA) you do need to tick the box,” Department official Eoin Dooley said.
“There is a process coming in this year that if you want to increase your MEA you can email your geotagged photo into us and we will clear that straight away. If you increase above the MEA we will have to check it.”
However, if there is a reduction in the eligible area this will automatically reduce the farmer’s claimed area to match the new eligible area.
Farmers and advisors at both information meetings said that the Department, in previous years, has sent claims back where a farmer has increased his/her area. In these instances they say payments are held up.
“It has been the policy that if you make a query on eligibility you will be last to be paid,” one advisor in Louth said.
Fintan O’Brien from the Department responded by saying: “I can give you an undertaking that is not our policy and that will not happen. The facility is there to change the MEA. Each exclusion is given a unique identifier, you put in a note to say that was removed.”
The normal appeals system remains in place for farmers in Louth that wish to query the new maps.
The two information meetings for the LPIS rebuild in Louth are now complete. Some farmers told the Irish Farmers Journal that they had already made their BPS application and others said that the meeting was a helpful clarification on what they should do when applying.
Tillage farmer Pat McGuinness was there to find out why the online application system does not allow field names to be included beside field numbers, something he said is important for Irish heritage and would make the application process easier.
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