Farmers Weekly is supporting a rural charity initiative launched this week which will raise money through donations of surplus small numbers of single farm payment entitlements.

Anyone holding fewer than five English Single Payment Scheme entitlements after the 21 October entitlement trading deadline will not be able to make a claim in 2015.

In addition, any other English entitlements that are not matched by eligible land will be lost under the reformed CAP.

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However, non-SDA entitlements are worth about £140 each and the professional fees associated with the sale of small numbers of entitlements start at about £150 so are often too high to make small transactions worthwhile.

The initiative, called Entitlement Aid, aims to transfer small amounts of excess entitlements to active farmers who have land not matched with entitlements. The alternative would be for the entitlements to lapse or to be sold.

Entitlement Aid seeks instead to attract donations of entitlements, with agents being encouraged to match donors and buyers and to carry out these small transfers for no fee. The proceeds will then be passed on to the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, the Addington Fund and the Farming Community Network.

The initiative is the idea of Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) member Kevin Bateman of Devon-based Bateman-North and is supported by the CAAV, Tenant Farmers Association, NFU, Country Land and Business Association and the British Institute of Agricultural Consultants.

Mr Bateman is also collating a database of farmers who hold excess entitlements and those wanting to buy entitlements so they can be matched up.

“At last we are up and running and we have purchasers for approximately 50ha,” said Mr Bateman. “We have had donations of 6ha so far from three different people.”

The entitlements concerned may simply be surplus to requirements or they may be held by those with fewer than five entitlements and who, because they have so few entitlements, will not be able to make a claim under the new Basic Payments Scheme (BPS) from 1 January 2015.

Potential donors also include those with just a few entitlements which are surplus to requirements. For example, the holders may not have enough land against which to set all of their entitlements.

The deadline for the transfer of existing SPS entitlements is 21 October 2014, but BPS entitlements may be transferred from mid-January 2015 to avoid loss of any excess of entitlements.

For more information contact Bateman-North Chartered Surveyors, telephone 01392 462 128 or email enquiries@bateman-north.co.uk