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Minister Creed Announces Early Opening of 2018 Basic Payment Scheme Application Process

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., today announced the early opening of the application process for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and the Greening Scheme.

The Minister commented “I am delighted to announce that the online application system for applications for the 2018 BPS is now open.  In the coming days, farmers will be receiving a BPS information pack in the post containing terms and conditions of the scheme as well as land details.”

Under the EU regulations, 2018 is the first year that all applications must be submitted online.  Recent years have seen significant growth in the number of farmers applying for the BPS online, and this is reflective of the range of benefits that online application brings for farmers.”

The Minister confirmed that the closing date for BPS applications in 2018 is Tuesday 15th May and urged all farmers and advisors to avail of the early opening of the application process now rather than waiting until nearer the closing date.

“I am aware that for some people, this will be the first year that they will have engaged with the online applications process.  To help farmers to submit their application online in 2018, I have ensured the early opening for the BPS application facility in 2018.  The application process in 2018 is opening over a month earlier than in 2017.  This will provide more time for farmers to familiarise themselves with the online application facility and to submit their applications.”

“Officials from my Department will also be providing a range of supports to farmers over the coming weeks and months, including a series of BPS clinics in locations throughout the country. Further supports such as telephone helplines will also be in place.  As we move towards the application deadline, my Department will be in contact with farmers again to provide further details on these supports.  These supports will ensure that all farmers are able to access these important payments.” 

Among the benefits available to online applicants is the availability of preliminary checks for online applications. These preliminary checks allow online applicants to be advised of certain errors at an early stage and to correct any such issues without penalty.  The Minister noted that “preliminary checks have proved very successful in previous years, and they represent one of the many advantages for farmers in making their BPS applications online.”

From 2018 all the elements of the Direct Payments Schemes (BPS, Greening, Young Farmers Scheme, National Reserve, and transferring of entitlements) will be online.  This will help to ensure that the Department can process all applications under these schemes as efficiently as possible.

The Minister concluded by stating “I would urge all farmers to avail of the opportunity to apply for the BPS at this early stage via the online system.  It is open for farmers to do this either as individuals or through an agent.  Higher levels of online applications will allow my Department to continue to improve on the delivery to farmers of essential payments under schemes such as BPS and the Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme.”

Notes for Editors

From 2018, EU regulations set out that BPS applications must be made online. The recent growth in online applications shows that more and more farmers are finding the best way to apply for their BPS is online. 

In 2017, approximately 114,000 online BPS applications were received – 87% of all applications.

With the requirement to apply for Transfer of Entitlements online in 2018, this means that all the elements of the Direct Payments Schemes (BPS, Greening, Young Farmers Scheme, National Reserve, and transferring of entitlements) will now be online.  This will help to ensure that the Department can process all applications under these schemes as efficiently as possible.  Other area based schemes for which application is made via the BPS application will now also effectively be online – for example, the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme. 

One of the main benefits for online applicants has been the introduction in recent years of preliminary checks for all online applicants. Preliminary checks will identify any overclaims, overlaps or dual claims in respect of online BPS applications.  Where a preliminary check identifies such an issue applicants are given the opportunity to amend their claim within a specified timeframe without penalty.  Applicants may wish to retain their original claim, or to amend their claim in light of the preliminary check.

Almost 8,000 farmers (an increase of almost 3,000 on 2016) benefitted from Preliminary checks in 2017, thereby reducing their risk of penalties.

This week farmers will begin receiving their BPS packs in the post.  This will include the usual information to assist farmers in making their applications – Terms and conditions, maps and land details.  However, given that application must now be online there is no paper application form included in the pack this year.  Farmers who applied on paper in 2017 have been written to separately to inform them of this change.

Should farmers wish to contact the Department in relation to online application they can do so at

  • 076 1064424 in relation to queries on registering for www.agfood.ie – for example queries on lost passwords, how to register etc.
  • 0761 064420 in relation to queries on actually completing the BPS application once registered on www.agfood.ie.

A further range of supports will be rolled out by the Department in the coming weeks, and farmers will be contacted again in this regard.

 ENDS

Date Released: 07 February 2018