IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy has reminded farmers that the deadline for the 2016 BPS application is next Monday, 16th May and he urged farmers to ensure that their applications are in on time.
The Department of Agriculture has informed IFA that extended opening hours will operate at the Department’s Portlaoise office to assist farmers to meet the deadline. The office will open until 9pm Monday to Friday and between 9am and 5pm Saturday and Sunday next. In addition, the Portlaoise office will remain open until 12 midnight on Monday next.
IFA is encouraging farmers to make online applications as this will lead to more efficient processing, fewer errors and speedier payments from mid-October next.
The IFA Deputy President said that it is vital that no farmer loses out through late application as the BPS and other direct payments make up such a significant part of farm income. This is particularly relevant in the current year, with farm incomes under such pressure. IFA has already raised the prospect of a higher advance payment in October next to deal with the serious income crisis on farms.
Richard Kennedy said IFA will meet the Department this week on issues surrounding the new pre-checking arrangements, which will allow an opportunity to address dual claims, over-claims and overlaps highlighted on online applications. This will assist farmers who have made online applications as it will reduce errors and possible penalties. Notifications back to farmers will be through the BPS online system.
The BPS application is also relevant for all other schemes such as ANCs (Box must be ticked on BPS application to apply), Young Framer Scheme, GLAS, BDGP, and TAMS. Direct payments are worth about €1.7bn to farmers and are a vital support.
Farmers are also reminded that once a BPS application has been submitted, amendments may be made to the application until May 31st.