The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) announced last week that they are going to re-launch the process for farmers to claim EU subsidy payments, reverting to a paper based system for applications this year. The Chief Executive of the RPA, Mark Grimshaw said the decision had been made having listened intently to farmers, and the decision has been made to ensure that everyone who wants to make a claim this year can do so.
Farmers still need to be registered online to begin the process of making the claim. Any additional information submitted online will be saved and used.
The RPA are due to email all farmers and agents who have registered so far, to inform them of how to complete their claim. Different types or claim will be treated differently under the new system:
- Farmers with the simplest claims will be fast tracked. This will apply where there is little change to the land or the claim is uncomplicated. The RPA have estimated that around 39,000 farmers will fall within this category. These farmers will receive an email in April summarising their land and any entitlement information already held. They will then be given simple instructions on how to complete their claim by email.
- Where farmers need to map new features, blank forms can now be downloaded in order to prepare their claims. This can therefore be done in advance of the pre-populated forms which will be sent out in April. These can be submitted by post or through an RPA drop in centre.
- Those dealing with the most complex cases will be offered additional support and the RPA is also working to give agents and some of the biggest claimants direct access to the system so they can submit forms online.
In addition to this announcement, the deadline to apply for BPS claims has been extended to 15 June (one month from the original 15 May deadline). This has been proposed so that farmers do not suffer the consequences of delays on the part of administrations faced with the first year of the new Common Agricultural Policy.
RPA helpline 03000 200 301.