Applications surge for Basic Farm Payments to farmers as deadline looms

Leinster Express Reporter

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Leinster Express Reporter

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Basic Farm Payment vital as Covid-19 impacts

Covid-19 is set to see a surge in applications for the Basic Payments Scheme (BPS) according to the IFA and Department of Agriculture which both have urged farmers to apply before this week's deadline.

IFA President Tim Cullinan said it’s very important that all farmers make their BBPS application to the Department of Agriculture before the closing date of Friday.

He said the BPS is the most important application for the year and farmers should double check with their adviser/planner to ensure their application has been lodged.

So far, over 90% of farmers have applied for the Basic Payment Scheme. Eligibility for most farm schemes is dependent on a BPS application. It is expected that 130,000 farmers will make an application.

Mr Cullinan also said suckler farmers need to ensure they have made their online application for the BEEP-S scheme before Friday’s closing date.

"So far, over 20,000 farmers have applied for BEEP-S. We need a final push on applications ahead of Friday’s deadline. The payment at €80/€90 per suckler cow is significant and the conditions are reasonable.

 “In the context of IFA’s ongoing campaign for further supports for the beef sector, it’s vital that the €35m is fully drawn down,” he said.

IFA National Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden said IFA has set a goal to secure direct targeted support of €300 per cow.

“We believe there are sound economic arguments for supporting the suckler herd based on their importance to the rural economy. A study by Prof Thia Hennessy from UCC commissioned by the IFA shows that for every €1 in direct payments, over €4 is generated in the rural economy,” he said.

These payments are worth up to €1.8bn to Irish farmers.

ICSA Suckler chair Ger O’Brien has urged farmers not to miss out on the new and improved BEEP-S scheme, and to get their completed applications in before Friday’s deadline (15 May).

“Applying is simple; once you log in to your AgFood account the whole process should take a few minutes at most. A hard won extra €35m was pumped into the scheme in last year’s budget, so all suckler farmers need to get on board and secure this payment for their farms,” he said.

“The mandatory component of the scheme involves weighing cows and calves and will provide a payment of €50 per cow/calf for the first 10, and €40 each for the remainder. Through the optional actions, an additional €30 is available for either a pre-weaning meal feeding programme or for vaccinating stock. On top of this, another €10 is available for doing faecal egg testing on dung samples.”

“Suckler farmers who complete all the mandatory and optional actions under the scheme can therefore receive a total payment of €90 per cow for the first 10 cows and €80 for the remainder, up to a limit of 100 cows.”

“All in all, the measures required are sensible ones, and ones that will lead to less stress for calves at weaning time which in turn will benefit buyers, including Irish finishers and live exporters. Taking samples will also assist in ensuring that dosing is much more targeted and will help counteract immunity from dosing products.

“In the face of relentless bad news, this is a scheme not to be missed,” he said.  

The Department of Agriculture also urged farmers to apply now if they have not already done so.

“The rate of submission of applications for 2020 BPS continues to be significantly ahead of last year’s rate and the BEEP-S applications are going well also,” it said.

The Department said it has been assisting farmers in making their applications in recent weeks through its telephone helpdesk services. The Minister announced that this Lo-call telephone service will be available to farmers for extended hours in the run up to the deadline.

The helpdesk service telephone 0761 06 44 20 will now be available as follows

· Between 9.15 am and 9.00 pm from Monday 11 May to Thursday 14 May

. Between 9.15 am and 12 midnight on Friday 15 May.

The Minister for Agriculture urged farmers to get their applications in. Michael Creed commented: “The financial support provided under schemes is a key support for farmers. I would urge all farmers to lodge their applications as soon as possible before the 15 May deadline. Should any farmer require guidance in making their application, they should ring the Department’s helpdesk where a member of staff will be able to assist them.”

Go to www.agfood.ie and helpdesk 0761 064424.