A clinic will be held to help Westmeath farmers with their online applications for the Basic Payment Scheme, Fine Gael councillor Tom Farrell confirmed this week.
Further to existing supports available, such as telephone help-lines, how-to guides and instructional videos, staff from the Department of Agriculture will be available to meet with farmers on a one-to-one basis to assist them in making their applications.
Councillor Farrell said: “An online clinic will be held at Mullingar Park Hotel Dublin Road Mullingar on Tuesday, May 1, from 4pm to 7.30pm to help local farmers with their online applications for the BPS.
“These clinics have proven successful in the past and farmers can sit down with an official from the Department and make their online BPS or Transfer of Entitlements applications on the spot. Online applications offer a range of benefits for farmers and also help the department to issue these vital payments more efficiently.
“The recent growth in the number of online BPS applications shows more and more farmers are finding that the best way to apply for vital schemes such as BPS and ANC is online. Almost 20,000 farmers have already made their online applications this year, compared to a total of 3,500 applications received at this stage last year.
“From 2018, all the elements of the Direct Payments Schemes (BPS, Greening, Young Farmers Scheme, National Reserve, and Transferring of Entitlements ) will be online. This will help to ensure that the department can process all applications under these schemes as efficiently as possible.”
Should farmers wish to contact the department in relation to their online application they can do so by: calling (076 ) 1064424 for queries related to registering on www.agfood.ie; or by calling (076 ) 1064420 with queries on how to complete the BPS application once registered on www.agfood.ie