IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy has reminded farmers that the deadline for the 2016 BPS application is next Monday and urged them 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 remain open on Saturday and Sunday between 9am and 5pm. The office will remain open until 12 midnight on Monday.
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. Also, farmers who have applied online will automatically qualify for the new pre-checking arrangement as part of CAP simplification. Where there is a problem, farmers will be notified online and via text message before June 13th. Farmers will be given a week to respond. Files and applications may be rectified without any penalty.
The IFA Deputy President said 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. Farmers have until May 31st to amend their application. This is particularly relevant in the current year, with farm incomes under such pressure. IFA has already raised the prospect of the maximum advance payment of 70% in October next to deal with the serious income crisis on farms.
IFA met the Department yesterday and received an update on payments. There are still some outstanding payments from last year and Richard Kennedy stressed that all payments have to be made.
Richard Kennedy said that the Department has indicated that final statements will be issued by the end of May. This will be followed by the 3% balancing payment to all farmers and this will be followed by the Financial Discipline/Crisis Reserve Fund and unused National Reserve Funds. IFA estimate the total amount due to farmers in June will be €50m.
The BPS application is also relevant for all other schemes such as ANCs (Box must be ticked on BPS application to apply), Young Farmer Scheme, GLAS, BDGP, and TAMS. Direct payments are worth about €1.7bn to farmers and are a vital support.