Northern Ireland BPS Entitlements User Guide

How do I claim BPS payments in Northern Ireland?

To be eligible to claim payment under the Basic Payment Scheme a Northern Ireland claimant must:

  • Qualify as an “Active Farmer” (see below for details on this classification);
  • Have at least 3ha of eligible agricultural land;
  • Hold enough entitlements to match the eligible land they wish to claim on;
  • Be carrying out ‘agricultural activity’ on the land they wish to claim on;
  • Have the land at their disposal on the 15th of May in the year they wish to make a claim (or the next working day if this is a weekend);
  • Submit an online Single Application (SA) by the 15th of May deadline (or the next working day if this is a weekend);
  • Must meet all Cross Compliance rules for the scheme year.

What needs to be done to qualify for the Greening Payment?

To be eligible for the Greening Payment (approximately 30% of the total payment), a claimant must comply with the greening rules for the whole scheme year (1 Jan – 31 Dec), which are summarised as follows:

  • Farmers with 10 or more hectares of arable land (i.e. land cultivated for crop production, fallow land or temporary grassland) need to follow the crop diversification Greening rules.
  • Farmers with more than 15 hectares of arable land must follow the crop diversification and the Ecological Focus Area (EFA) Greening rules.
  • Farmers with less than 10 hectares of arable land don’t need to do anything differently – they are exempt from the crop diversification and EFA area rules.
  • Farmers with permanent grassland must follow the permanent grassland Greening rules.

BPS Payment Rates

From 2021/22, all entitlements will be paid the same rate. DAERA are unable to confirm the final flat payment rate, however they have suggested it should be in the region of €229/ha, including the Greening payment. Young Farmers (those under the age of 40) are also eligible for an additional top-up payment of 25% of the total value of their claim.

Until 2021/22, each payment made on each entitlement will be composed of an element of the historic value and element of the flat rate value, with the proportion of the historic element reducing to zero and the flat rate payment gradually increasing until it makes up the whole payment by 2021/22.

BPS payments are capped at €150,000 excluding greening and Young Farmer payments.

Buying and selling entitlements and the National Reserve

All online transfer applications must be submitted using the DAERA online system (or by paper form for transfers by inheritance or change of business) by the 2nd of May each year in order for the Transferee to be paid for the entitlements in question when they submit their BPS claim.

In order to claim BPS payments, a potential claimant must first acquire enough entitlements for the land they wish to claim upon. Those that meet the criteria for the New Entrant and Young Farmer schemes are eligible to receive free entitlements from the National Reserve. Those that do not meet the requirements for allocation of entitlements under these schemes must purchase entitlements privately. For more information on the entitlement trading market and for current prices and availability, please contact Alasdair Squires (email).

Receiving entitlements from the National Reserve

“New farmers” must be at least 18 years of age, must be in ‘control’ (i.e. own more than 50% of the shares and votes) of the farm business, their business must have started ‘agricultural activity’ in 2013 or later and they must not have carried out any farming in the previous 5 years in their own right.

“New farmers” must make their first successful BPS application within 2 years of the calendar year in which the business started farming.

“Young farmers” must be between the age of 18 and 40, must be in ‘control’ of the farm business and must have set up or taken ‘control’ of the business for the first time less than 5 years before the scheme year in which they first applied for BPS payments.

In order to prove one’s status as a ‘new’ or ‘young’ farmer, evidence of the above must be received by DAERA no later than the 15th of May.

How do I buy entitlements?

If you are looking to buy Northern Ireland entitlements please see our Buyer’s Guide here, and a list of some available entitlements here.

How do I sell entitlements?

If you are looking to sell Northern Ireland entitlements please see our Seller’s Guide here, and a list of some wanted entitlements here.

Qualifying as an “Active Farmer” and those with conacre agreements

DAERA has announced that from 2018 the ‘negative list’ will be removed from the ’Active Farmer’ test. This means that those who operate any of these previously ineligible businesses can now submit a claim for BPS payments. However, claimants must still qualify as an ‘Active Farmer’, as listed below.

In order to claim BPS payments, the claimant must be able to provide sufficient evidence to DAERA demonstrating that they have the decision making power, benefits and financial risks in relation the agricultural activity. This is known as the ‘Active Farmer’ test.

In a conacre agreement, it is generally the case that the conacre tenant enjoys the decision making power, benefits and financial risks of the agricultural activity. Therefore it is the tenant who would be eligible for BPS payments.

Still have some questions or queries?

Email entitlements@townsendcharteredsurveyors.co.uk or ring us on 01392 823935.

Alasdair Squires

Alasdair Squires
BA(Hons).

01392 823935
asquires@townsendcharteredsurveyors.co.uk