It’s that time of year again. Application forms and guidance notes for the 2007 single farm payment should have landed on doormats throughout the land and farmers have until 15 May to get them back, or face penalties.

The first thing a farmer should do – and yes, it is obvious – is check that the business details are right on the front of the form. Closely inspect the Single Business Identifier and business name. If either is wrong, call up the Customer Service Centre(0845 603 7777) for advice.

“Claimants should not handwrite amendments on the front of the form,” said an RPA official. “We can’t capture any changes to business details from the front of the form.”

Farmers should also pay close attention to the payment preference specified on the front cover in part B. “If you chose to be paid in euros last year, you will automatically be paid in euros this year, unless you mark the change on your application form.”

  • Not completing the land use code for 2003 (column C7)
  • Not completing the land use code for the current scheme year (column C8)
  • Failing to include sufficient supporting documents, such as sketch maps or grass let agreements
  • Not signing and dating the declarations (Part 1)
  • Failing to check the pre-populated data entries (especially if you have had a previously notified dual claim or been involved in entitlements transfer)

Next, farmers should check the start date for the 10-month occupancy of the land in question. Pre-printed information will use the same start date as last year, rolled on 12 months. If that has changed and the end dates from 2006 overlap with the start dates for 2007, even for one field, this is likely to count as a “dual claim” and could trigger a penalty.

It is especially important to find out what the 10-month period was for new land taken on since last year’s claim.

  • Tell the RPA if you have an interest in any other farming businesses, either in England or elsewhere in the UK
  • Write your SBI clearly on any covering letter, if you include one, or use the SBI barcode if it has arrived
  • Place any additional pages behind the main form, along with supporting documents
  • Strike through a written answer at least three times if it is wrong, write the correct answer close by, initial and date it
  • Complete the field data sheets in hectares and to two decimal places


One of the main changes for 2007 is that the Field Data Sheets have now been moved to the front of the application form. “This was due to customer feedback,” said the official. “Farmers often like to get this bit done first, so we have brought it forward.”

The bulk of these Field Data Sheets should be pre-populated with last year’s data – and the impression so far is that this information is much more accurate than in the past.

But care still needs to be taken to check the figures – especially where farmers have been involved in the transfer of entitlements and land which may not have all been registered with the RPA at the time the forms were printed.

“If the pre-printed data are correct, then you do not need to rewrite the text,” says the RPA.”But if parcels are missing, additional information should be included on the next available blank lines.”

Any written mistakes should be crossed out, initialled and dated. But if a whole line needs to be deleted – for example, if a field has been sold – farmers should simply enter an X in column C3. They should not strike through the whole line.

  • Use pencil,felt pen or Tippex
  • USe photocopies
  • Write outside the boxes
  • Use your own computer generated field data sheets
  • Fold the form into a smaller envelope. Use the RPA envelope provided

Close attention

The RPA is also urging farmers to pay close attention to set-aside this year. “One area of concern is where a farmer put down a whole field as set-aside, SA1, last year, when in fact he should have split it SA1 and OT2. This leads to the pre-printed data showing the whole field as SA1 in columns C8 and C10. If this has happened to you, you will need to split fields into SA1 and OT2 and provide a sketch map.”


The 2007 SPS will be based 70% on the entitlement holder’s historic subsidy receipts and 30% as a flat-rate payment. The euro/sterling exchange rate to be used will be that prevailing on the last working day of September 2007. The aid for energy crops is set at €45/ha and for proteins at €55.57/ha.

Under section E – the claim for single payment – the RPA says that, to activate all your entitlements, first check they are all listed, then simply put an X in the “all” box in column E8.

But if there are entitlements missing – for example, if you have been involved in trading – you should also complete column E3 to specify the type of entitlement you want activated.

If you wish to claim Hill Farm Allowance, you should complete column C12 for each relevant land parcel, and answer question G4. And if you have common rights, you should complete part D of the form.

While all the forms sent out by the RPA should have been pre-populated, new applicants or farmers who need extra pages should contact the Customer Service Centre to get blank forms. “We will not be accepting non-RPA self-generated forms this year (as used by some agents and consultants in the past), as these are not compatible with our scanners.”

Last, the RPA is urging farmers to get their claims in as soon as possible. “One initiative we are introducing this year is to supply barcodes so farmers can attach them to future correspondence,” said the official. “But these are not ready yet and farmers should not wait for them to arrive before returning their forms.”

Returns so far

Of the 120,000 forms sent to known entitlement holders, 11,433 had been sent back by 5 April. Of these, 349 had to be returned due to mistakes.

Claimants who miss the 15 May deadline will be subject to penalties worth 1% of their SFP per working day late. Applications received after 9 June will be rejected.


  • Have you read the declaration and signed and dated the form?
  • Have you checked and altered if necessary the 10-month rule dates at B2 and selected the correct date for each row at C9 and D6?
  • Have you checked or completed C4, C8, C10, D8 and E8 for each row of the relevant section to claim SPS?
  • Have you checked or completed C8 and C12 for each row where you are claiming for protein, energy, nuts or HFA?
  • Have you initialled and dated all of your corrections?
  • Have you taken a copy of the form?
  • Have you attached your maps and any other supporting documents? (Sketch maps are only required where a field is split in 2007 and where part is used for set-aside, for the protein crop premium, for nut area payments or for energy crop payments.)
  • Have you marked up all the documents with an SBI number and business name?

Other Guides to filling in your single payment form:
Nothern Ireland

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