Minister McConalogue announces Checks by Monitoring for Protein Aid Scheme

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The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D. has announced that controls for this year’s Protein Aid Scheme will, for the first time, be undertaken remotely through the use of the Area Monitoring System. 

Checks by Monitoring is an automated and continuous process which will use Satellite data along with other data sources to determine the agricultural activity on all land parcels declared  by farmers under the Protein Aid Scheme in 2021.

To facilitate the implementation of the Area Monitoring System (AMS), which will be compulsory in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2020, a phased introduction is being implemented by Ireland for various schemes over the interim period. The first phase will see Checks by Monitoring (CbM) is being used for the Protein Aid Scheme in 2021.

The Minister said, “The introduction of these new Checks by Monitoring in 2021 is a positive move towards the simplification of the CAP through the use of technology and in turn offers many benefits to farmers.  These include reduced number of on-farm inspections and quicker notification when problems arise,   allowing farmers the opportunity to amend their payment claim without penalty, where queries arise.  The new notification system aims to minimise the occurrence of non-compliance.”

Notes  for Editors:

Benefits for farmers of the new system of Checks by Monitoring  include

  • Reduced number of on-farm inspections,
  • Quicker notification when problems/queries arise,
  • Farmers can respond to queries by sending in geotagged photographs where appropriate
  • Farmers will have the opportunity to amend their payment claim without penalty

Background  to Checks by Monitoring

In 2018 the European Commission introduced changes to the Implementing Regulation (EU) No 809/2014 that allowed Member States (MS) the option of using Checks by Monitoring in place of the current on-the-spot-controls (OTSC).

The Checks by Monitoring process in 2021 will allow for the notification of Protein Aid Scheme applicants of a potential non-compliance with the scheme requirements in relation to crop type or activity.

Where such a potential non-compliance is identified, a notification will issue on the BPS online system. If a farmer is signed up for text message alerts, a text will issue to advise them that they have a notification on their BPS account.

Where a farmer has applied online through an advisor, the advisor will receive notification via the BPS online account in respect of any of his/her clients. Farmers who have applied through an advisor will also get a text message alert where they are signed up for this service.

Geotagged photographs or other documents may be requested as part of the notification. In certain cases  it may be necessary to verify the position on the ground by means of a farm visit

Protein Aid Scheme

The Protein Aid Scheme is a voluntary coupled support scheme introduced in 2015. It provides support for the growing of protein crops to counteract the dependence on imported protein for use in animal feeds. In addition, these crops, which are nitrogen-fixing, provide important environmental benefits. The rate of payment varies from year to year depending on the number of hectares claimed in any given year, within a financial ceiling. In 2020 this ceiling was €3m and remains at €3m for 2021.

END