DEFRA HAS announced details of the arrangements for commoners who want to claim under the Single Payment Scheme.

In order to access the new scheme, all applicants – whether commoners or not – will have to be “farmers” as defined in the EU legislation.

This means they will have to declare that they are engaged in production and/or are keeping the land in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition.

For those that satisfy the test, payment entitlements will be issued according to the proportion of total grazing rights they hold on the common.

Officials will be holding discussions with representatives of interested parties in respect of the New Forest, where special conditions apply.

Stocking rates will be set for the various types of common and will be compared with the total grazing rights issued in respect of the common.

Where the total grazing rights available on the common do not lead to the potential for overstocking it will be open to the common owner, who must also be a farmer, to claim entitlements on the surplus grazing.

DEFRA has also announced more details on how awards from the national reserve will be calculated.

It has said new entrants will have their allocation based on the land they held on Nov 2 provided it was not used for dairying or the production of other unsubsidised crops.

For each hectare of qualifying land their reference amount will be increased by the area average value of entitlements.

Farmers who invested in land or production capacity by May 15, 2004, as part of an investment plan, will have their allocation based on the difference between their reference amount and subsidy receipts in 2004, calculated on a scheme by scheme basis.

For details of how other categories will be treated click here