Last-minute scramble on BPS applications as deadline looms

Farm consultants and Teagasc staff will be burning the midnight oil this week as up to 40,000 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications remain to be submitted.

This is the first year of a exclusively online process for BPS and the Department of Agriculture has already received 90,000 applications.

However, 130,000 applications are due to be made in total for the €1.2bn BPS package before next Tuesday's (May 15) closing date.

Applications for the scheme have been running smoothly to date, according to ACA president Owen O'Driscoll.

Mr O'Driscoll said applications were "well on track" and that changes to the Department's IT system had worked well.

Difficulties have been raised regarding applications by farmers who are in GLAS but the ACA president said these issues had been flagged with the Department.

Some farm consultants admitted that getting farmer clients to come in and fill out the BPS application has proven the biggest challenge so far.

"Farmers are under savage pressure at the moment, but you have to gently remind them that this is most profitable few hours' work they'll do in the round of the year," one advisor in the west commented this week.

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The ICMSA deputy president, Lorcan McCabe, appealed to farmers to make room for the BPS application process.

While accepting that many farmers were "burned out" after the "gruelling winter and spring", Mr McCabe appealed to them to prioritise the BPS application.

"I would just urge farmers now to make the appointment with their advisor, get their data together and get this done. It's supremely important," he said.

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