Applications for Northern Ireland's 2021 Basic Payment Scheme and Entitlement Transfer Service will open on March 1, Agriculture Minister Gordon Lyons has announced.

Welcoming the launch, Minister Lyons said: “I am pleased to announce that the 2021 Single Application and Map Service and Entitlement Transfer Service will open on March 1, 2021.

Entitlement transfer applications will be accepted up to May 4, and Single Applications for Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and other schemes such as the Environmental Farming Scheme can be submitted up to May 17 this year without penalty.

Minister Lyons continued: “The farm payments made by my Department represent the single largest income for farms in Northern Ireland, and underpin the financial viability of the agricultural industry.

"These payments represent our continued commitment to farming families and the rural economy right across NI, following the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.

“I am particularly pleased that we have been able to simplify the process for farmers in the first full year since leaving the EU, with the amalgamation of greening payments into the BPS and a change in entitlement values from euros to pounds sterling.”

From March 1, 2021, farm businesses and their agents can submit Single Applications and entitlement transfer applications via DAERA’s Online Service. The Entitlement Transfer Service will close on May 4, 2021.

Single Applications must be submitted online by May 17, 2021, to avoid a late claim penalty. DAERA plans to begin issuing full payments to farmers from October 2021.

The Single Application is the method for claiming any of the following schemes:

  • Basic Payment Scheme (BPS);
  • Young Farmers’ Payment (YFP);
  • Regional Reserve Entitlement allocation or top-up (as a Young Farmer or New Entrant);
  • Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS);
  • Farm Woodland Premium Scheme (FWPS);
  • Farm Woodland Scheme (FWS);
  • Forest Expansion Scheme (Annual Premia);
  • Small Woodland Grant Scheme (SWGS);
  • Protein Crops Scheme.

Applicants are advised to allow adequate time to check all their information is correct and to avoid unnecessary penalties.

The Single Application and Map Service has built-in help and warning messages to assist farmers to complete their application.

Farm businesses should also use the Single Application and Map Service to notify DAERA of any changes to their land.

Guidance documents and ‘how to’ videos will also be available on the DAERA website.