Posted by Angus Williams, Partner
CAP Reform update
A further update on the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) schemes in England has been published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), with a focus on greening and how it works in practice.
Photo credit – Kevin Dooley https://www.flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/
There is also further information on the online service for the new CAP schemes: the CAP Information Service, which will replace some of the current systems.
The update includes the following information on greening:
• Additional details of the land uses that will count as ecological focus areas (EFAs) and more importantly how these land uses will be measured.
• Details on Defra’s intention to set an inspection period of 1 May to 30 June, also known as the cropping period. During this period the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will carry out inspections, which we understand are intended to cover a sample 5% of affected claimants. The inspections will look at the claimant’s compliance with the crop diversification requirement.
• 30% of an affected claimant’s total payment will be the maximum amount a farmer could lose for failure to comply with greening requirements in 2015.
• In order to transfer the current Single Payment Scheme entitlements before the new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is introduced you must ensure that the RPA receive transfer form RLE1 before midnight on 21 October 2014. The previous deadline announced was 19 October 2014.
• If, as a farmer, you have scattered parcels of land, then you must count all of your land in the UK as one, which in turn will require you to comply with the greening requirements across the entire area. Defra have said for example, crops or features on land in Scotland could be used in addition to those in England to meet the EFA and crop diversification requirements.
• If land is transferred during a Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) year the greening requirements must still be met. This means that a farmer, who, for example, includes land in a BPS claim and transfers that land after 15 May (the BPS claim deadline), will remain responsible for greening compliance for the rest of the year. Therefore indemnities will be required on disposals whether that disposal is a sale or the grant of a farm business tenancy, which in turn will mean that farmers and their advisers will need to carefully consider sale contract and tenancy documentation. Timings will also need to be considered to ensure that adequate protection is built in, as farmers might lose some of their greening payment if greening features or areas on that land are changed or removed, or the land cannot be inspected.
We will continue to monitor the reforms and the updates and guidance issued. It is an important time for farmers and taking the right advice will be fundamental to businesses as we move into the new regime.
If you have any queries about this CAP reform update or would like to speak to our agricultural specialists about anything else contact the team on 0800 027 2276 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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