BPS online - Thorne Widgery

More and more farmers are switching to making Basic Payment Scheme applications online, and more than 88 per cent of the 2018 BPS applications so far have been received this way.

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has said that more than 35,000 BPS application have been submitted since the opening date of 13 March, and with the deadline of midnight on 15 May looming, farmers have been warned that completing the application will take longer than it did last year.

According to the RPA, the process has been especially challenging for some applicants due to the new hedges layer tool, which has been criticised for having major errors in the mapping data.

However, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, George Eustice, has said that online applicants are more likely to find checking and updating details, and viewing and transferring land, easier than paper applicants.

Furthermore, farmers applying through the Government portal have the advantage of being able to use the system’s built-in checks to ensure that their application is accurate. They will also be able to check and transfer their entitlements online, as well as view maps and aerial photography of their land, and they can print maps of individual land parcels, and transfer and remove land parcels online.

Mr Eustice is urging farmers who have yet to submit their applications to do so now so that they can be certain that the RPA will receive their application ahead of the deadline.

Those submitting applications should be aware that if an application is received after 15 May, it may be treated as being late and a penalty could apply. If the supporting evidence is received after midnight on 11 June, the application may be rejected entirely.