Basic Payment Scheme
Fine Gael Senator Frank Feighan has said some €13m has been paid out to 3,137 Leitrim farmers to date under advance payments of the 2018 Basic Payments Scheme (BPS).
“I am happy to confirm that advance payments under the BPS have commenced issuing earlier this week. These payments are a vital support for farmers across the sector in maximising cash flow and are particularly welcome at this time in light of the adverse weather conditions experienced on Leitrim farms this year.
“It is a key priority for Fine Gael to get these payments out to the greatest number of farmers possible at the earliest date allowed under EU legislation, subject to the necessary requirements of the Schemes being met.
“With this in mind, my colleague the Minister for Agriculture secured EU Commission agreement for a higher advance payment of 70% for 2018 rather than 50% as provided for in the EU legislation.
“Some 93% of eligible applicants for the BPS have now been paid in this first tranche, and the success of our move to full online applications this year has helped us to deliver further efficiencies in the processing of payments which are of direct benefit to farmers.
“Payments under the 2018 Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme (ANC) also continue to issue as cases are cleared for payment. I can assure farmers that payments will continue to issue under both schemes as individual cases are cleared, and regular pay runs will be in place over the coming weeks to ensure this. Farmers who have been contacted by my Department with queries in relation to their applications should also respond at their earliest convenience in order to facilitate payment.
“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 17th to 27th October, farmers can ring the Department at 076 106 4420 between 9.00am and 8.30pm on weekdays and between 9.00am to 1.00pm on Saturday, 27th October.
“The Minister confirmed that balancing payments under the 2018 BPS as well as payments under the Young Farmers Scheme and National Reserve are scheduled to commence issuing from the start of December, followed by payments under the coupled Protein Aid Scheme,” he said.