The Basic Payment Scheme opened for applications last Thursday and is one of the most important tasks in the farming calendar for a large number of farmers. In the region of 129,000 applications were submitted each year in 2020 and 2019, with this figure not expected to change significantly in 2021.

Within this, 122,745 applications were deemed eligible for a payment in 2020, with 122,513 applicants paid €1.156bn up to 19 February 2021. This includes €9.7m paid to farmers under the 2020 Young Farmers Scheme and €3.4m under the 2020 National Reserve.

No changes

There are no major changes in the 2021 scheme, which rolled over due to delays in forming the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The closing date for submitting applications has changed from the 15 May, which has been the date in recent years, to midnight on 17 May, as the 15 May falls on a Saturday. Payment of entitlements continues to be influenced by farmers satisfying greening requirements, with this making up about 44% of the total value of an entitlement.

Submission of a BPS application is required for several other schemes outside of payment of entitlements.

The Department has allocated a dedicated Lo-call number to deal with specific queries from farmers in relation to the scheme.

The Direct Payments helpdesk can be contacted at 076 1064 420, while a dedicated email address has also been allocated to enable farmers to submit queries, and the Department says replies will be made on an ongoing basis. It is

There are a number of important dates relating to the scheme that are outlined below:

  • 1 January to 1 June or 31 May to 31 December 2021: Land must be under the applicant’s control in one of these periods to comply with BPS requirements.
  • 30 March 2021: Applications for the registration of a new partnership must be submitted to the Farm Partnership Registration Unit.
  • 17 May 2021: Closing date for BPS applications, transfer of entitlements applications, Young Farmers Scheme, National Reserve etc.
  • 31 May 2021: General deadline for making amendments such as correcting areas, adding plots etc.
  • 10 June 2021: Preliminary check letters will be issued, giving farmers the opportunity to rectify errors without penalty.
  • 16 October 2021: Advance payments commence issuing to clear cases.
  • 1 December 2021: Balancing payments commence issuing to clear cases.