News Q&A: Online is the best way to apply for your Basic Payment Scheme

The closing date for receipt of 2016 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) BPS applications is May 16, 2016.

Go online, register now at www.agfood.ie 

All applicants will have recently received their application packs from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

While most farmers can submit a paper application or an online application, certain categories (Partnerships, Greening, Organic and GLAS farmers) are required to apply using the online facility

A paper application form will not issue to, or be accepted from these categories of farmers.

Why apply online?

Since the introduction of the online system in 2007, the number of farmers applying online has continued to grow, from 7,500 in 2007 to over 93,000 in 2015.

This growth in the number of farmers applying online shows that more and more farmers are finding the best way to apply for their BPS is online.

While most farmers still have the option of submitting a paper or online application, this will no longer be the case from 2018.

Under EU Regulations, 100% of BPS applicants will be required to apply for BPS by submitting an online application, from 2018.

With this in mind, the Department is urging all farmers to register on www.agfood.ie, if they have not already done so, and to submit their BPS application online as soon as possible.

How do I apply online?

If you have not already done so, you must first register with the Department, by visiting www.agfood.ie , or by calling the dedicated helpdesk at 076-1064424, where a member of staff will be happy to assist you.

Once you are registered, you can apply online for various schemes, including BPS.

It is open to farmers to do this themselves, or through an agent.

What are the benefits of applying online?

Registering at www.agfood.ie  will allow you to apply for various schemes online, record animal events, register calf births, view your financial statements securely, and apply for BPS online.

The advantages of submitting your BPS online include:

* Less room for error, as the system will warn you of certain potential errors as you make your application. Less errors means less potential for penalties.

* Online applications ensure no vital information is omitted.

For example, when sending in a paper application, a farmer may forget to sign a form, or to fill out information in relation to land parcel usage etc. 

Such errors take time to follow up for all parties. When submitting online, however, the system will alert you that you have information missing.

* The system allows you to accurately map areas and exclusions through the online mapping tool.

* You can upload documents electronically to accompany your application, for example, evidence of commonage share, or lease agreement, which will allow for your application to be processed more quickly.

* You can submit amendments to your application through the online facility.

* The system allows you to view your entitlement details.

* You will be able to view a detailed breakdown of your payments, and all correspondence with the Department, online.

* Inbuilt validations in the system provide for consistency between your BPS and GLAS applications, and you will receive warnings of any potential breaches which may affect your GLAS payment.

In addition, the Department is currently examining the introduction of preliminary checks.

These checks would allow certain errors to be corrected without penalty, thus delivering real benefits to farmers.

It is important to point out that preliminary checks can only be made available to online applicants.

Work is ongoing in relation to the administrative and technical requirements associated with implementation of these checks.

What supports are available to farmers applying online?

A range of supports is available for farmers applying online.

You may lodge your BPS application online yourself, or through an agricultural agent.

A dedicated helpdesk is available at 076-1064424 to address any queries.

Also, instructional videos demonstrating the BPS online application process are available on the Department’s website, and further targeted supports will be made available to those GLAS farmers applying for BPS online for the first time this year.

The Department will continue to encourage more and more farmers to apply for BPS online.

The online system is simple to use, offers a range of benefits for farmers, and supports are available in order to help people apply.

Register now at www.agfood.ie to ensure that you take advantage of the quickest and best way to apply for your BPS.

www.agfood.ie 


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