The 2016 Basic Payment Scheme will open for applications next week. This application is the key to payments under all of the schemes run by the Dept of Agriculture. The number of farmers making their applications on line, either themselves or through their advisor continues to rise, it reached almost 60% in 2014 and just shy of 70% in 2015.
This year, farmers who are in GLAS will not receive a BPS application form. They will receive maps of the land that they declared in 2015 in the post but there will be no paper application form. They must make their BPS application on line. This is a continuation of a process that started last year when organic farmers and certain tillage farmers were obliged to make on line applications. We forecast that paper applications will cease for all farmers by 2018 or 2019 at the latest.
While farmers and advisors will get an extra day to complete applications this year (May 15th is a Sunday so the closing date is extended until Monday the 16th of May) do not delay, contact your advisor as soon as possible and get the process started. Do not worry about rental agreements that have not been finalised, amendments to the BPS application can be made after the closing date.
On a separate note, Fergal Monaghan one of the yourcommonage team will be on Ear to the Ground next Tuesday evening (Feb 23rd) on RTE 1 at 8:30. The program is focusing on the problems faced by farmers on commonages generally and on the Roxborough commonage in South Galway in particular.