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Preparing for your BISS appointment

Preparing for your BISS appointment

Owen Power, Teagasc Farm Management Specialist, has key advice on preparing for your BISS appointment, highlighting some of the common issues to be aware of.

Most farmers will have received their 2024 BISS land details and maps in the post at this stage. This is the most important form to complete this year, not only for BISS, but it is also the application form for many other schemes, for example, the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) scheme, Complementary Income Support for Young Farmers (CISYF), ACRES, SCEP and Organics to name just a few.

Prior to meeting with your advisor, it is important that you check all maps and documents carefully and note any changes that you wish to make on the 2024 application online. If there are to be any changes to the farming operation in 2024, such as changing names on the herd number, incorporating into a company or joining a registered farm partnership, it is worth having a chat with the advisor ahead of the appointment, in case you need to prepare anything extra (for example, making a name change to the herd number, discussing the documents needed to transfer entitlements).

Make a list of items for discussion. This will ensure that both you and the advisor get the most from the consultation. You may also want to discuss other issues such as farm succession, farm finances, increases or reductions in stock numbers or plans for an investment.

Each year there are common errors made to the BISS Application. Spending some time reviewing the pre-printed land details and maps now, before your appointment and taking notes of the appropriate changes required for the coming year can save a lot of time trying to rectify the errors, thus avoiding penalties later in the year.

Make sure to address the following areas to avoid some of the commons errors:

  • Forgetting to inform your advisor where there has been a change to the name on the herd number or where a herd number change form has been submitted to the DVO since last year. Retain copies of these forms submitted to the DVO, so as to keep a record of dates when these changes were made;
  • Deciding on the schemes for which you will be applying in 2024. There will be slider buttons available to apply for certain schemes and they must be ticked to apply at application time;
  • Ensure the BISS land parcel use declarations match the require­ments for any schemes you will be participating in during 2024, i.e. ACRES, SCEP, Organics;
  • Check that all landscape features such as hedges, stone walls, drains, scrub and habitats have been identified and included in the Space for Nature calculation;
  • Make the relevant deductions and mark out on the maps any areas that should be reduced/ excluded due to new roadways, buildings, sites etc. on the declared parcels;
  • Check entitlement position to ensure sufficient land is de­clared to claim all entitlements. Where entitlements will be transferred in or out, a transfer of entitlements application must be submitted;
  • Where eligible, submit an application for the Complemen­tary Income Support for Young Farmers and National Reserve. Applicants previously accepted as eligible for CISYF scheme for a five-year period need to confirm their continuation in the scheme on the BISS application or submit a new application where the slider button is not available;
  • Applications left in draft form because you have not decided on all the actions/changes you are making in 2024, this can lead to an application not being submitted in time.

Remember the closing date is 15th May 2024 and an application not submitted on time can result in no payment of any kind for a lot of schemes. Therefore, make that call today and book your appointment early to avoid any errors/penalties.