Don’t get caught out by BPS small print
THERE is just one week to go before next week’s Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) deadline (Tuesday, May 15) so make sure to submit your BPS application in time, especially if you also have forestry on the farm
Forestry payments and BPS payments can quite often be combined.
Eligible land that was declared in a Single Payment Scheme (SPS) application in 2008 and which will be planted in 2018 (or planted since 2009) can continue to be eligible for a BPS payment in 2018 provided it satisfies a number of conditions including the following: ÷The land to be planted was declared on a 2008 SPS application. ÷The declared land was eligible for SPS in 2008. ÷The area must have given a right to payment under the 2008 SPS.
If you are considering establishing a forest, it is vital that you and your forestry consultant understand that you must continue to farm at least 10pc of the eligible hectares declared in 2008 — subject to a minimum area of three hectares — in order to continue to be regarded as an active farmer or BPS eligibility.
If you are a new entrant to farming, the minimum area to be retained in an agricultural activity will be fixed by the Department on a case-by-case basis.
When filling the BPS application, the status of forestry parcels must be accurately reflected in terms of Parcel Use on the back of the form.
The table to the right provides a summary of the BPS application requirements for applicants with forestry parcels which will vary according to the timing of their forest establishment:
Do keep in mind that all entitlements allocated under BPS and the National Reserve are subject to a two-year usage rule.
Any entitlement that remains unused for two consecutive years will revert to the National Reserve.
Tillage farmers in particular will have greening obligations. Arable farmers should be aware of their obligations, relevant greening area calculations and should also be aware of any exemptions that may apply.
For example, if you have more than 15 hectares of eligible arable land, 5pc of this area must be in Ecological Focus Area (EFA), apart from exempted categories.
Both BPS-eligible forestry and Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) are reckonable as EFAs. One hectare of eligible forestry is equal to one hectare of EFA, while one hectare of SRC is equivalent to 0.3 ha of EFA. BPS-eligible afforested land and SRC must be located on your holding.
Farmers are required to separately declare all their EFA areas and features. The EFA declaration is made at the level of each parcel.
This article is only a very brief introduction to the very complex Basic Payment Scheme. So the advice as usual is read the small print and double-check your facts. It is your money.