Basic Payment Scheme
The Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), introduced in 2015, as part of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) replaces the Single Payment System (SPS).
From 2015, the direct payment under Pillar 1 of CAP is no longer a single payment but may be a combination of four separate payments including the Basic Payment, outlined below. You must apply for payment each year, usually by May 15th.
In order to qualify under the Basic Payment Scheme, you must have at least one entitlement linked to one hectare of eligible land.
Any farmer who was entitled to receive a basic payment in 2013 is automatically eligible to receive an allocation of entitlements in 2015, provided they satisfy the other conditions of allocation.
Farmers who never held entitlements but actively farmed or grew fruit and vegetables in 2013 may also be eligible under the Scottish Derogation.
Number of Entitlements
The number of entitlements allocated to a farmer in 2015 will be based on the number of eligible hectares declared in either 2013 or 2015, whichever is lesser.
Value of Entitlements
The value of entitlements owned (held or leased out) under the SPS in 2014 and, if relevant, the value of payment under the Sheep Grassland Scheme, forms the basis for calculating the value of entitlements in 2015 under the BPS.
You must have an eligible hectare to accompany each entitlement.
Funding is reserved, under the National Reserve, for applicants who meet the criteria of ‘Young Farmer’ or ‘New Entrant’ and who have a gross off-farm income of less than 40,000 in the tax years either 2013 or 2014.
Eligible farmers will be eligible for an additional allocation of entitlements on eligible land for which they hold entitlements and/or a top to the value of existing entitlements held by them where those entitlements are below the national average.
Convergence - how your entitlement value may change
Entitlements may be subject to convergence, which will either increase or decrease their value over the five years of the Scheme.
Entitlements worth less than 90% of average
Farmers who hold entitlements with an initial value below 90% of the national average entitlement value will have the value of their entitlements increase by one-third of the difference between their initial value and the 90% national average value. This increase will take place in five equal steps over the five years of the scheme.
Entitlements worth more than 100% of average
Farmers who hold entitlements with an initial value over 100% of the national average will see their value decrease over the period of the scheme. The reduction will be determined by the amount needed to fund the increase for those whose entitlements are being increased.
Entitlements worth 90-100% of average
Farmers who hold entitlements with an initial value of between 90% and 100% of the national average value will see no change in their entitlement value over the five years of the scheme.
By 2019 all entitlements will have a minimum value of 60% of the national average entitlement value.
By 2019 no former will receive a payment per hectare greater than €700.
Transfer of entitlements
All entitlements are subject to a 2-year usage rule. Entitlements can be transferred or sold including lease with or without land from 2016.
Entitlements sold in 2016 are subject to a 50% clawback; there is no clawback thereafter.
EU regulations provide that payments under the BPS will be made within the period 1 December to 30 June of the following calendar year. Payments will be made in a maximum of two instalments within that period.
Department of Agriculture commitment
Under the Charter of Farmers Rights, the Department of Agriculture has committed that:
- 50% advance payments will commence on October 16 each year with a target of paying 100% of cleared cases and 90% of all applicants in the first week.
- Balancing payments will commence on December 1 each year with a target of paying 100% of all applicants on that date
- For 2015 these payments will be based on provision entitlements with any balances due to be paid on March 16.
- National reserve – a target payment date of 1 December for all applications to be paid as a complete payment will apply
- Greening payment and Young Farmer Scheme payments will issue as a complete payment as soon as possible after advance and balancing payments have been issued under the BPS and all necessary inspections are completed
By submitting a BPS application, applicants agree to permit officials or agents of the Department to carry out on-farm inspections.
These include land eligibility and cross-compliance inspections.
5% of applicants will be inspected on land eligibility (1% on farm, the remainder by remote sensing). Up to 14 days notice will be given.
1% of applicants will be subject to Food, Feed, Hygiene, TSE & Animal Welfare inspections. No notice will be given in advance of these inspections.
3% of applicants will be subject to Pig/Cattle/Sheep/Goat ID and Registration inspections. Up to 48 hours notice will be given in advance.
1% of applicants will be subject to SMRs and GAEC inspections. Up to 14 days notice will apply.
Where a problem is identified in the course of administration checks a letter is sent to the applicant by September 15th at the latest setting out the nature of the query and likely consequences if not resolved. The farmer must respond within 14 days to provide an explanation or clarification. Where a farmer does not respond within 14 days, a reminder letter will be sent seeking an immediate response.
If the claimed areas is over declared or under declared the reductions/penalties may be applied.
If an applicant is found to be in breach of cross compliance, penalties may apply.
A farmer who has had a penalty imposed may appeal that decision to the Agriculture Appeals Office. Appeals must be lodged within 3 months of the date of the Department’s decision letter.