Farming landscape in North Yorkshire© Tim Scrivener

The 2018 Basic Payment Scheme for England has opened for farmers and land agents to apply online, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has announced.  

From Tuesday (13 March), applicants can complete their declarations for 2018 and submit their application via the Rural Payments service.

Defra said applying online means farmers and agents can quickly check and update their details, as well as view and transfer land and entitlements.

See also: How to apply for wildlife Countryside Stewardship arable offer

Throughout the application window, which runs until 15 May this year, a range of support from the RPA will be available, including local drop-in centres providing a check and receipt service for paper applications, online guidance and telephone support.

RPA chief executive Paul Caldwell said: “With the application window for BPS 2018 open, now is the time for farmers to log on and submit their applications in good time.

“The RPA will be on hand with clear guidance and support throughout the application window to ensure the process is as quick and simple as possible.” 

Those who applied online in 2017 will receive an email from the RPA on 13 March with all the relevant information. The RPA will also be sending a paper application form to those who applied on paper in 2017.

The RPA is encouraging farmers to apply online now to ensure their application is submitted before the deadline.

NFU: 3,000 farmers ‘left in the dark’

Meanwhile, the NFU said about 3,000 farmers in England were still “left in the dark” about when they will receive their 2017 BPS payments – despite more than 95% of farmers in England receiving their payment.

NFU vice-president Stuart Roberts said: “BPS 2018 looks to be another challenging year, with farmers up and down the country needing to make additional mapping changes.

“We’re also urging the RPA to clear all outstanding cases, with some dating back as long as 2015. This needs completing as soon as possible to enable an efficient and improved service for 2018.”

For further guidance and information on changes made to this year’s application form, please visit Gov.UK.

Payment scheme applications open in Northern Ireland

The Online Single Application service for 2018 is open for farmers in Northern Ireland, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera) has announced.

Daera will not be issuing paper versions of the Single Application this year. The deadline for receipt of all Single Applications and supporting evidence is 15 May 2018.

The Single Application is the only method for claiming under any of the following schemes;  

  • Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and greening payment 
  • Young Farmers’ Payment (YFP) 
  • Regional Reserve Entitlement allocation or top up (as a Young Farmer or New Entrant)
  • Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) Agreements 
  • Northern Ireland Countryside Management Scheme (NICMS) 
  • Farm Woodland Premium Scheme (FWPS) 
  • Farm Woodland Scheme (FWS) 
  • Forest Expansion Scheme (Annual Premia)

Register for Daera’s online services