The Agricultural Consultants Association (ACA) have reaffirmed their commitment to assisting Irish farmers with important deadlines in the forthcoming weeks whilst continuing to work in line with HSE and government guidelines.
ACA President, Tom Canning, said their members are on course to submit all applications for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and associated applications before the 15th of May and other deadlines such as the Nitrates derogation on April 24th.
“Our members continue to abide by the HSE recommendations in our role as farm advisors during the current coronavirus crisis.”
“Members’ offices are closed to the general public but their businesses’ are operating as best they can in the current circumstances. At any other time of the year, our members could reduce their working hours but regrettable this crisis coincides with the most important date in the farming calendar (the BPS deadline of May 15th).”
“ACA and its members are committed to helping our clients and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) in ensuring all applications are submitted on time. We will play our part in ensuring there are no delays to our clients’ payments later this year.”
The association said it has been working very closely with the DAFM since the coronavirus restrictions were put in place and it fully supports all efforts to keep the “critical” agricultural sector operational whilst abiding by Government recommendations.
“Over 130,000 BPS applications must be submitted by the 15th of May and ACA members will be involved in the submission of 55,000 of those. To ensure farmers payments remain on course for the end of this year, ACA members will continue to work hard to help our clients over the next number of weeks.”
“It is important to thank our members and their staff during this difficult time, the DAFM for working with us and also our farmer clients who continue to be extremely cooperative and understanding.”
“We will ensure that no farmer will be forgotten in the next few weeks and in the meantime, everyone’s health and wellbeing is of utmost importance.” the ACA president concluded.
The current ACA arrangements during this time are as follows:
- ACA members’ offices continue to remain closed to the public until further notice for the benefit of our clients and staff;
- The priority for ACA members is to work from home or remotely if at all possible but where members and their staff must attend their workplaces, health and safety guidelines as recommended by the HSE, will be strictly implemented;
- Pre-arranged essential meetings with clients are being postponed. This will be reviewed again after the current restrictions are assessed on the 12th of April;
- All farm visits are being postponed immediately. Again, this will be reviewed after the current restrictions are assessed on April 12th;
- Communications with clients will be completed through phone calls and emails until further notice;
- ACA members will be entirely flexible to meet the needs of our clients as we understand these are exceptional times for both them and their families;
- ACA members will ensure to keep their clients informed and work closely with them to meet all deadlines. If a farmer is concerned about any aspect of their farm management or business, then they should contact their ACA farm consultant/advisor for assistance;
- Working hours and circumstances may change for some ACA members and their clients will be informed directly by the individual member.