Wed, 28 Oct 2020

Farms across Ireland to get 781 million euros boost

Conor Trindle
17 Oct 2020, 19:28 GMT+10

DUBLIN, Ireland - Advance payments under the 2020 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) (including Greening) have commenced.

"I am happy to confirm that that advance payments under the BPS, worth €781 million to 118,000 farmers, have commenced today. These payments are a vital support for farmers across the country and contribute greatly to maximising income and cashflow in the sector in what has been a very challenging year for farmers," Ireland's Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said Friday.

"A key priority for my department is the efficient issuing of scheme payments to farmers. The BPS advance payment is commencing today at the earliest date possible under EU Regulations. The payment is set at a rate of 70%, which is an increase on the 50% normally allowed under regulation."

McConalogue said that "compared to the advance payments made at this stage last year, an additional 3,500 farmers have received an advance payment in the first run of payments this year. This represents an additional €34 million. In all, some 97 % of eligible applicants for the 2020 BPS are receiving their advance payment at the earliest date possible."

Payments under the 2020 Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme (ANC) which started in September are also continuing as more cases are cleared for payment. The minister added that "the advance BPS payment and the advance ANC payments taken together mean that some €974 million has now issued to Irish farmers in the last month."

In order to facilitate farmers wishing to contact the department regarding their BPS or ANC payments, extended hours are in place for the Direct Payments Helpline. From Monday the 19th of October to Friday the 23rd of October, the Helpdesk will be available to answer farmers queries up to 8.30pm each evening. Farmers can ring the Helpdesk at 076 106 4420. Farmers can also submit any queries they may have online via www.agfood.ie.

"Ggiven the central importance of the many schemes currently in place, my department has recently written to all farmers outlining the payment schedule over the coming months for these schemes. I am committed to ensuring that these payments continue to issue in the most efficient way possible to ensure that these vital supports are delivered to farmers in a timely manner," the minister said.

"With this in mind, regular pay runs will be in place over the coming weeks to pay BPS and ANC cases as they become cleared for payment. 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."

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