ABSENTEE FARMERS who use agents to manage their holdings could face serious delays with their single farm payment applications.

Philip Wynn, head of Aubourn, the agribusiness division of Savills, said a rule change contained in the new payment scheme could cause problems where SFP cheques are to be sent to the agent or adviser, rather than the farmer.

“Historically, authorisation to sign on behalf of clients was included on the IACS form and was simple to complete. Now, if payment is to be sent to an address other than that of the client, a customer registration form (C Reg 01) must be applied for before another party can sign the form,” he said.

“The trouble is, it is 16 pages long and could cause severe delays, especially as it has to be requested – it will not be sent automatically. The Rural Payments Agency is also insisting on sending it to the farmer. Agents will, therefore, need to supply a UK address for the client by whom it must be completed.”

Delays are inevitable; therefore it was important to contact the RPA as soon as possible, said Mr Wynn.