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28 May 2022

Longford Leader Farming: Basic payments focus on them now

Farmers detail roadmap to easier and more enjoyable farming

For farmers the BPS Application is the most important application you will make in 2022.

Direct payments (under the Basic Payment Scheme) have made an enormous contribu­tion to family farm incomes over the last few decades.

 

The future will be no different. In this article, I will provide some pointers to help you to complete this year’s application. The Basic Payment form contains within it applications for other schemes, for example, the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) scheme, Young Farmer Scheme (YFS), Straw Incorporation Scheme, Protein Aid, GLAS and Organics, so it is impor­tant that you have all the relevant documents to hand when you are completing the application form.

At this stage you will also have received a copy of maps and plots that you included in your 2021 application from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). It is important that you check these documents carefully and note any changes that you wish to make on the 2022 Application Form.

Maximise your payments

The average contribution in 2020 was 70% of the farming income. However, if we look at dry stock en­terprises, it often makes up well over 100% of income.

This means that some of the money received in the form of direct pay­ments was subsidising the farm business, demonstrating that the farm enterprise actually made a loss in 2020. If we look back over a number of years, the picture is no different.

These figures make stark reading. It is important that we think about our own future in farming, as there are some significant challenges for the industry ahead. Even on profitable dairy units, the direct payment makes up a significant proportion of the farm income, so it is important that you maximise the direct payments that are available. If you wish to discuss your finances in detail, please contact your local Adviser.

*Family Farm Income (FFI) is the return from farming for farm family labour, land and capital. It is the principal measure of income used in the Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS) Figures provided by NFS.

The 2022 BPS application

If you are getting your advisor to complete the application form, you should prepare well for the meeting to get the most out of the limited time available. The vast majority of farm­ers will meet their advisor in person.

If there are to be any changes to the farming operation, it is worth having a short chat with the advisor ahead of the appointment, in case you need to prepare anything extra (for example, making a name change to the herd number).
You may wish to discuss other issues, so make a list of items for discussion. This will ensure that both you and the advisor get the most from the consultation.

You may also want to review your farm plan, farm finances, increase the amount of silage conserved, or plan an investment. If you need to make a further appointment as a result of your discussion, you should do so immediately.

Common errors
· Not informing the advisor that the ownership of the herd number is changing.
· Not stating that a lease of entitle­ments was not renewed when it expired in the previous year.
· Forgetting to reapply for the Young Farmer Scheme (tick box/new appli­cation if no tick box).
· Forgetting to add on extra land.
· Not following up with the auctioneer when leasing out entitlements.

Farm succession

I have received many queries on this topic recently. It is important that every farmer has thought about farm succession. The first step is to write a will. This is an insurance policy against a lengthy legal rigmarole for your family should you pass on intes­tate (i.e. without having made a will).
Have a conversation with your advi­sor about farm succession. Succes­sion is a complex area with lots to be considered, mostly around tax and government supports. There are some good supports for young farmers in the YFS and National Reserve (NR).

Deadlines

The deadline for all schemes (BPS, NR and YFS) is Monday 16 May 2021. As has occurred in other years, amend­ments can be made after submission of the application up until the end of May.

Reasons for making an amendment include:
· Correcting an obvious error (minor clerical error).
· Adding or deleting a parcel.
· Change of use of a parcel.
· Ticking/un-ticking the ANC box.
· Ticking of the YFS box (where ap­plicable).

Teagasc provides a Local Advisory and Education service to farmers. They have offices based in Roscommon Town (Tel: 090 6626166), Castlerea (Tel: 094 9620160) and Longford Town (Tel: 043 3341021), You can find us on Facebook @Teagasc roscommonlongford, twitter @teagascRNLD and YouTube. And follow the hash-tag #RNLDwebinars for information about local farm webinars. Email; RoscommonLongford Advisory@teagasc.ie

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