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Applications for the 2021 Basic Payment Scheme and Entitlement Transfer Service will open on 01 March, Agriculture Minister Gordon Lyons MLA has announced.

Welcoming the launch, Minister Lyons said: “I am pleased to announce that the 2021 Single Application and Map Service and Entitlement Transfer Service will open on 01 March 2021. Entitlement transfer applications will be accepted up to 04 May, and Single Applications for Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and other schemes such as the Environmental Farming Scheme can be submitted up to 17 May this year without penalty.”

Minister Lyons continued: “The farm payments made by my Department represent the single largest income for farms in Northern Ireland (NI), and underpin the financial viability of the agricultural industry. These payments represent our continued commitment to farming families and the rural economy right across NI, following the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union (EU). 

“I am particularly pleased that we have been able to simplify the process for farmers in the first full year since leaving the EU, with the amalgamation of greening payments into the BPS and a change in entitlement values from euros (€) to pounds sterling (£).” 

From 01 March 2021 farm businesses and their agents can submit Single Applications and entitlement transfer applications via DAERA’s Online Service. The Entitlement Transfer Service will close on 04 May 2021. Single Applications must be submitted online by 17 May 2021 to avoid a late claim penalty. DAERA plans to begin issuing full payments to farmers from October 2021.

The Single Application is the method for claiming any of the following schemes;

  • Basic Payment Scheme (BPS)
  • Young Farmers’ Payment (YFP)
  • Regional Reserve Entitlement allocation or top up (as a Young Farmer or New Entrant);
  • Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS)
  • Farm Woodland Premium Scheme (FWPS)
  • Farm Woodland Scheme (FWS)
  • Forest Expansion Scheme (Annual Premia)
  • Small Woodland Grant Scheme (SWGS)
  • Protein Crops Scheme

Farm businesses should also use the Single Application and Map Service to notify DAERA of any changes to their land.

Farmers should allow adequate time to check all their information to ensure it is correct and to avoid unnecessary penalties. Farmers should submit their applications as soon as possible from 01 March 2021 onwards.

Speaking in support of the motion to approve the draft payments  in the Assembly today, Newry and Armagh MLA William Irwin said "As I have said previously, farming and the environment very much go hand in hand, and one cannot realistically survive without the other. That is why support for farming and the environment is so vital. As we know, direct payments are worth around £293 million a year to the industry. That is of significant assistance, and, understandably, there has been much debate and insistence on the need for such payments to continue. Our agri-food industry is one of the most prized assets in Northern Ireland, securing many thousands of jobs across a great number of sectors. It is, of course, important that the industry is fully supported going forward to ensure the stability and full recovery of our economy post pandemic."

DAERA will provide the following help to farmers to complete their applications:

  • The Single Application and Map Service has built-in help and warning messages to assist farmers to complete their application;
  • Guidance documents and ‘how to’ videos will be available on the DAERA website;
  • During the application period, our Single Application Advisory Service can be contacted on 0300 200 7848. Farmers can also email us at areabasedschemes@daera-ni.gov.uk. Our advisors will be ready to help Monday to Friday from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.
  • Alternatively, an agent or trusted person can be nominated by farmers to complete the application on their behalf. Forms to nominate an authorised person can be downloaded from the DAERA website.
  • If farmers can’t access online or use an agent due to COVID-19 restrictions advisors will be able to accept applications over the telephone and submit on behalf of the farm business.
  • Farmers can also opt in to receive emails and SMS text messages to keep up to date with scheme news and reminders on key dates. To do so, farmers should update their preferences on the ‘Personal Details’ page of their DAERA Online Services account. 
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