THE Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, this week announced the commencement of advance payments under the 2017 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and the Greening Payment.
The Minister said on Tuesday, ‘I am particularly pleased that these payments, worth some €700 million to 111,000 farmers, have now commenced issuing. Every year, the advance payment of the BPS is a vital support for farmers across sectors in terms of maximising cash flow. It is a priority for my Department that these payments issue in the most efficient manner possible, and that they commence on the earliest date possible under EU Regulations.”
Following recent discussions with the EU Commission, the Minister also confirmed that the level of the advance payment is set at 70% for 2017 rather than 50% as provided for in the EU legislation.
The Minister further commented: ‘I am happy to confirm that the 111,000 farmers paid in the initial tranche of advance payments represent an increase over the 109,000 farmers paid at this stage last year. Over 90% of eligible applicants for the BPS have now been paid in this first tranche.
‘As we move to full online application by 2018, my Department will be able to introduce further efficiencies into the processing of payments which will be of direct benefit to farmers.’
Payments under the Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme also continue to issue as cases are cleared for payment. Mr Creed added that ‘the advance BPS payment and the ANC payments taken together mean that over €880 million has now issued to Irish farmers in the last month. These payments provide a significant financial boost for individual farmers and the wider rural economy.
‘I was delighted to secure an increase in the ANC scheme allocation for 2018. This €25 million increase will provide direct financial support to farmers in the most marginal areas of the country.’
The Minister indicated that advance payments will continue issuing regularly until mid-November, with balancing payments to commence issuing from early December. In order to facilitate farmers who wish to contact the Department in relation to their BPS or ANC payments, extended hours are now in place for the Direct Payments Helpline.
For the period from October 17th to 21st, farmers can ring the Department at 076 106 4420 between 9am and 8.30pm on weekdays and from 9am to 1pm on Saturday.
Minister Creed also confirmed that payments under the 2017 National Reserve and Young Farmers Scheme will commence early in December 2017.
The Minister concluded “payments under the BPS and ANC scheme will continue to issue as individual cases are cleared. I will continue to prioritise the ongoing processing of payments, subject to the requirements of the schemes being met.”