The Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) was introduced in 2015 as part of the new measures agreed in the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. The Basic Payment Scheme has replaced the Single Payment Scheme (SPS). All entitlements held under SPS expired on the 31 December 2014. A new set of entitlements will be allocated in 2015 to those eligible for an allocation under the BPS.

A provisional statement of entitlements has already issued to all entitlement holders. As direct payments from 2015 may take the form of four distinct schemes, the payment that a farmer receives under the new Direct Payment system is no longer a ‘single payment’ but may be a combination of payment under four separate schemes:

All eligible farmers will receive a payment under the BPS and a Greening Payment while some farmers may also qualify for a further payment under the Young Farmers Scheme or under the Aid for Protein Crops Scheme. A very significant percentage of the National Ceiling (30%) is allocated to Greening Payments each year and all farmers who participate in the BPS must also implement the Greening provisions. However, over 90% of applicants will automatically qualify for the Greening Payment on the basis of their current farming practices. The remainder will have to undertake specific measures to qualify for the Greening Payment. In practice, for the vast majority of applicants under the BPS, the main payment will amount to 70% of the overall amount payable and the remaining 30% will be the Greening Payment.

The Young Farmers Scheme will be used to provide an additional payment to any person who qualifies as a ‘young farmer’. It is available to successful applicants for a maximum period of five years depending on the year of commencement of farming.

The overall principles of the agreed cap reform package are as follows:
Direct Payments

Redistribution of direct payments- partial convergence:

Farmers with payments below 90% of the national average payment per hectare have their payments raised by at least one-third of the difference between their current payment and 90% of the national average. Convergence is to take place in equal steps from 2015. This is financed by reductions to payments above the national average payment per hectare. Minimum payment of 60% of national/regional average payment per hectare. Optional maximum 30% loss on 2015 initial unit value (not 2014 payment) on convergence. Member States will have flexibility on how payment reductions are applied to those above the average.

30% “variable‟ greening (some 30% of a farmer‟s total individual payment, i.e. bps + greening, rather than a flat rate).

As an add-on to either the partial convergence models, an optional redistributive payment, on up to 30 hectares or the national average farm size, if higher. This payment shall be no higher than 65% of the national or regional average value of payment entitlement.

Payment entitlements
Only farmers paid in 2013 can be automatically allocated new entitlements in 2015, provided they submit an application. The number of entitlements to be allocated to be equal to the number of eligible hectares declared in 2015. However, a member state may decide that the number of entitlements to be allocated will be equal to the number of eligible hectares declared by the farmer in either 2013 or 2015, whichever is lower. Member states may apply a reduction coefficient to the number of eligible hectares in respect of permanent grassland located in mountainous areas, in areas subject to natural constraints such as poor soil quality, steepness and water supply, and in areas where grasses are traditionally not predominant. Land afforested since 2008 continues to be eligible.

The initial unit value of payment entitlements in 2015 is based on a fixed percentage of the payments received by the farmer in 2014 divided by the number of entitlements allocated to that farmer in 2015. The fixed percentage is calculated by dividing the ceiling available for the bps scheme in 2015 by the total value of payments issued under the 2014 scheme.

If a farmer sells or leases all or part of their holding to one or more active farmers before 2015, s/he can transfer the corresponding right to receive payment entitlements. Payment entitlements can only be transferred (leased or sold) to an active farmer, except through inheritance. The reversion of entitlements upon expiry of a lease does not constitute a “transfer‟. Entitlements may be transferred, including by way of lease, without land,
if entitlements are transferred without land, member states may apply a claw-back of part of the entitlements transferred in favour of the national reserve.

Active farmer
Member states to set minimum activity level for areas “naturally kept in a state suitable for grazing or cultivation”. Member states may also exclude from payment those for whom farming is an insignificant part of their economic activity. No payments to be made in respect of airports, railway services, waterworks, real estate services and permanent sport and recreational grounds. Member states may add to this list. Member states also have the discretion to categorise such entities as active farmers if the latter can provide verifiable evidence demonstrating that their agricultural activities are not insignificant, or that the annual amount of direct payments is at least 5% of the total receipts obtained from non-agricultural activities,
member states must also set a threshold amount, not exceeding €5,000, below which the negative list/economic activity will not be applied.


National or Regional Reserve
Funded by up to 3% of 2015 basic payment ceiling, the reserve is to be used to allocate payment entitlements as a priority to young farmers and to farmers commencing their agricultural activity, with discretion for member states to set objective and non-discriminatory eligibility criteria. Optional uses include prevention of land abandonment, compensation for specific disadvantages and allocation of payment entitlements where a farmer did not get any entitlements as a result of force majeure or exceptional circumstances. Option for member states to either allocate new entitlements or increase the unit value of existing entitlements up to the national or regional average value.

National/regional reserve to be replenished through, inter alia: payment entitlements not used for a period of two years, payment entitlements not giving rise to payments because the farmer is not considered active, or does not meet the minimum payment/area requirements, voluntary reversion of payment entitlements by farmers.


Three greening criteria:
Crop Diversification
• Exemption for farmers with less than 10 hectares of arable land.
• 2-crop requirement between 10 and 30 hectares, and 3-crop requirement over 30 hectares.
• Exemption for farmers with over 75% of holding under grassland (permanent and temporary), and with over 75%  of arable land under temporary grassland, provided the remainder of their land is less than 30 hectares.
• Main crop maximum of 75% of arable land, and where there are three crops, the two main crops together cannot account for more than 95% of the arable land.

Permanent Grassland

Ecological focus areas

List of equivalent practices yielding an equivalent or higher level of benefit for the climate and the environment, allowing farmers to satisfy the three greening criteria. In addition to agri-environment-climate measures and national or regional environmental certification schemes, these can include practices such as crop rotation, maintenance of landscape features on permanent grassland and ecological set-aside. Commission can add practices to list and establish certification scheme requirements. Equivalent practices will not be the subject of double funding

Greening penalty


Optional top-up payments for farmers in new ANCs (formerly LFAs),
Member states may set maximum number of hectares per holding on which these payments can be made. Member states may use up to 5% of their annual national ceiling for these payments.


Young farmers’ scheme-Details

Coupled payments

Small Farmers’ Scheme-Details

Member states may choose one of the following payment calculation methods:
• up to 25% of the national average payment per beneficiary, based on the national ceiling set for calendar year 2019, the national average payment per hectare multiplied by a figure up to 5.
• an amount equal to what the individual applicant is entitled to in 2015.
• an amount equal to what the individual applicant is entitled to receive, under the bps and related schemes, for each year.
• in the case of the first two options above, where the calculations result in an amount either lower than €500 or higher than €1,250, the amount shall be rounded up or down, respectively, to the minimum or maximum amount. In the case of the third and fourth options above, where the payment amount is less than €500, member states may round this amount up to €500.
• cross-compliance and greening controls are not applied to farmers in this scheme.



The Single Payment Scheme was introduced in 2005 and was calculated using the average number of animals (hectares in the case of Arable Aid Schemes), on which payment was made under each scheme in the reference years (2000, 2001 and 2002) multiplied by the 2002 payment rate for that scheme (383.04 for Arable Aid Schemes).

In general, the Single Payment Scheme was applicable to farmers who actively farmed during the reference years 2000, 2001 and 2002, who were paid Livestock Premia and/or Arable Aid in one or more of those years and who continued to farm in 2005.
The gross Single Payment was based on the average number of animals and/or the average number of hectares (in the case of Arable Aid) on which payments were made in the three reference years.


Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme 2016-Terms and Conditions

Basic Payment Scheme 2016- Terms and Conditions

BPS Land Eligibility Guidelines Booklet

Guide to Greening

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