Basic Payment Scheme

Progress on BPS & ANC, But Forestry Remains Bottom of the Class

IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe has welcomed the commencement of the 70% advance BPS payment, which over 115,000 farmers received last week.

Speaking after a Charter of Rights meeting, the Deputy President said the Basic Payment is a vital source of family farm income. With over 121,000 farmers making an eligible BPS application, it’s essential that all remaining farmers are paid their advance without delay.

Brian Rushe said the receipt of the ANC advance payments last month was vital to farmers, given spiralling input costs. He also stressed the importance of issuing ANC payments to the remaining farmers as soon as they meet their stocking density requirements. 

The Department confirmed that they are making ANC and BPS payments twice weekly and gave assurances to IFA that the remaining farmers will receive their advance payments as soon as stocking density requirements are met.

On the Fodder Support Scheme, the Department confirmed that payments are on target to commence in November and have sought additional documentation from some farmers.

“I would urge any farmer who has received this request for evidence to submit the required documentation to the Dept as soon as possible in order to avoid any delay in payments being issued next month.”

On TAMS, IFA Rural Development Chairman Michael Biggins noted the commitment by the Dept to review the TAMS reference costings, which will be implemented as part of the opening of the new TAMS 3 scheme in 2023.

“Farmers have been forced to work with out-of-date reference costs, which are not reflective of the soaring cost of works and associated materials.   It’s essential that the new costings keep pace with these changes to allow farmers receive a grant relative to the cost of investment incurred,” he said.

IFA received an assurance from the Department that a sufficient Budget was in place to cover all investment claims under the current TAMS 2 programme. Tranche 28, the final tranche under the current programme, is set to close on Dec 16th.

Brian Rushe said while progress in ANC and BPS payments was positive, the opposite is the case for forestry.

Only 7% of tree-felling licences and 18% of afforestation licences were granted within the charter timeframes. This is in complete contrast to other schemes which have high rates of compliance with agreed timeframes.

“The ongoing fiasco relating to forestry licensing has eroded all confidence of farmers in the sector. The massive delays in issuing licences are unacceptable. Unless it’s addressed, we are not going to see any meaningful level of planting take place in future years,” he said.

The final meeting of the current Charter is due to take place in early December.

The Deputy President said that negotiations for a new Charter, taking into account the new schemes under CAP 2023-2027, should commence as soon as possible.

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