A total of 124,274 farmers applied online for the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) and other area-based schemes, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has confirmed.

This is down nearly 4,500 applications from last year, which saw 128,712 in by the May deadline.

The deadline for 2024 applications passed this Wednesday 15 May.

In total, the Department confirmed there were 120,000 applications for both BISS and the Complementary Redistribution Income Support for Sustainability (CRISS).

This is down over 4,500 on last year’s applications, which saw 124,664 applications in by the closing date.

Eco Scheme applications

A total of 120,461 Eco Scheme applications were made by this week’s deadline.

This represents a drop of over 1,000 applications, from 121,603 in 2023.

Application to the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme were also down over 1,000 to 116,892 in 2024.

The area-based application includes a range of schemes including the Eco scheme, CRISS, Complementary Income Support for Young Farmers (CIS-YF), Protein Aid, Straw Incorporation Measure (SIM), Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC), Multi Species Sward Measure (MSSM), Red Clover Silage Measure (RCSM), the annual claims for Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) and the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS).

Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme

Separately, there were 13,155 applications submitted for the Dairy Beef Welfare Scheme before the 15 May deadline.

Minister McConalogue said this scheme “is an important support to ensure the production of better-quality beef animals from the dairy herd”.

“This scheme is one of the measures in the 10-point action plan on supporting dairy calf to beef systems in Ireland,” he added.

Late applications and amendments

On BISS and other area-based schemes, applications will be accepted after the 15 May closing date.

However, there will be a 1% per day penalty, as per the terms and conditions.

Where farmers have made their BISS and other area based schemes application, but now wish to make an amendment, they can do so online at agfood.ie until midnight on Friday 31 May, without any penalty.

Transfer of Entitlements

There were 33,342 applications received to transfer payment entitlements.

As per the terms and conditions, the closing date for the receipt of Transfer of Entitlements applications was 15 May 2024.

However, if a change made to a BISS online application leads to a farmer having insufficient land to use all of their entitlements, they will have the opportunity to submit a Transfer of Entitlements application up until midnight on 31 May 2024.

This is only available to farmers who can show that they have made a change to their BISS application by 31 May 2024 and that change has directly led to the need to transfer entitlements.

Positive engagement

Minister McConalogue said it is really positive so many farmers have applied before the deadline.

“This figure reflects the massive effort made by farmers, FAS advisers and by my department in assisting farmers with these schemes and their various requirements.

“I want to particularly acknowledge the advisory services who have worked extremely hard with their client farmers to meet a range of application deadlines in recent months.”

The minister added that almost 1,400 farmers were assisted at 17 one-to-one clinics around the country.

“The direct payments helpdesk of my department made and received over 10,000 calls to farmers since 2 April to help them with their applications and queries.

“I want every eligible farmer to maximise their payments because I and everyone in my department knows how crucial they are to farm families,” he said.