In 2018, applications for the Basic Payment Scheme and for the transfer of entitlements must be made online.
Making these applications online is quick and simple, and in 2017 in the region of 114,000 farmers made their BPS application online, according to this update from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
What are the benefits of online application?
Applying for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) online has a range of benefits for farmers. It helps you avoid certain simple mistakes that were commonly seen on paper applications. The online system will automatically tell you when there are errors on your application, such as missing information. In the past, such errors could have led to a delay in processing a paper-based application.
Similarly, the online system can help farmers avoid overclaims, which are the most common cause of penalties for farmers. Again, the online system will flag any such issues to you at the time so the issue can be fixed in advance of submitting your application. Perhaps the biggest benefit of all is the availability of preliminary checks. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) introduced preliminary checks for the first time in 2016 for online applicants. Preliminary checks allow the DAFM to run a series of pre-checks and to notify applicants of problems such as overclaims, dual claims, and overlaps. A specified time frame is then available to online applicants to rectify any such issues in advance of any possible penalty applying. Online application can, therefore, help farmers to avoid certain errors and to avoid penalties on their BPS payment. There are similar benefits available to both farmers and the DAFM by submitting transfer of entitlements online. Whether the transfer is being carried out directly between two parties, or by an agent, the online system will help in avoiding the most common mistakes in transfer applications.
What supports are in place to help farmers apply online?
The number of farmers applying for their BPS online has grown steadily in recent years, and in 2017 the facility to transfer entitlements online was introduced successfully. For those farmers who have yet to use the online system or who have queries in relation to their online applications, a range of supports are in place to ensure that the move to online applications is as simple as possible. This will help to ensure all farmers are in a position to make their BPS and transfer of entitlements applications online quickly and simply. The first step in making your online application is to register on www.agfood.ie. For assistance on registering for www.agfood.ie you can contact the AgFood Registration Helpdesk on 076-1064424. You can also use this phone number for assistance in registering an agricultural consultant or advisor to apply on your behalf. For help in completing your application online, or making changes to your land details, you can contact our BPS Application Queries Helpdesk on 076-1064420. The Helpdesk can also provide information in relation to transfer of entitlements applications. Instructional videos are also available on www.agriculture.gov.ie. These are easy-to-follow guides for farmers to help them make their BPS and transfer-of-entitlements applications online. In April and May, the DAFM is also running a series of one-to-one clinics, where farmers can sit down with a member of staff and make their online application on the spot. Farmers will also be able to submit a transfer-of-entitlements application at these clinics with the assistance of a staff member. The details of these one-to-one clinics are being widely publicised, and full list of all the locations and dates is available at www.agriculture.gov.ie.
Where do I apply?
The online application system for BPS and transfer-of-entitlements applications is now open, and the closing date for applications is May 15, 2018. All applications must be made via www.agfood.ie. Farmers can make their applications themselves or authorise an agricultural consultant or adviser to do so on their behalf. The DAFM will continue to offer supports to farmers in making their applications online to ensure everyone is in a position to avail of the benefits that online application brings.