MANY FARMERS are still confused over the basics of how to claim their single farm payment from 2005 onwards.

The findings emerged during a series of CAP Reform roadshows, organised by Lloyds TSB, AMC and FARMERS WEEKLY held across the south west.

Dick Mason, Lloyds TSB‘s senior agricultural manager for the region, said: “This really is a major change to the way that people do business but a significant number are still not fully aware of the implications of it.”

Justin Lascelles, a land agent with Exeter-based Colvilles, said many people at the Exeter roadshow assumed the historic and area-based aspects of the single farm payment could be split and treated separately.

But that wasn‘t the case. “Although the area portion and historic portion are assessed differently they form just one payment – you only get allocated one unit of entitlement.”

The SFP would be paid on the total eligible acreage farmed for at least 10 months starting from any date between Oct 10, 2004, and Apr 30, 2005.

“Farmers have got to claim in the first year to activate the payments, as it will be their only opportunity to do so.”

To continue to claim, producers would have to adhere to environmental cross-compliance regulations and claim at least 30% of the SFP each year, he said.