The Rural Payments Agency has announced the value of entitlements to farmers in England under the 2006 Single Payment Scheme (SPS).

The new flat rate element values, in Euros, for entitlements for the three English regions are:
• €45.92 for Non-SDA (Severely Disadvantaged Areas);
• €38.02 for upland SDA other than moorland;
• €6.48 for upland SDA moorland.

The Euro/Sterling conversion rate to be applied is 0.67770 (the value of the Euro as at 30 September 2006).

The RPA will be writing to SPS customers over the next two weeks confirming the number and value of their 2006 SPS entitlements, including any historic element, and enclosing guidance notes designed to explain the detail within the statement.

In a statement the agency said: “For farmers who activated their entitlements in 2006, and whose claim has been fully validated, full SPS payments will be made as soon as possible.

“Where validation has not been completed, partial payments for eligible claims valued above €1,000 will commence in mid-February.”

Farmers will receive either a definitive or an ‘indicative’ entitlements statement depending on whether there are any outstanding issues with their claim.

The accompanying letter will make clear what action, if any, they need to take. The letter accompanying the ‘indicative’ Entitlements Statements highlights that one or more of the following categories may apply:

• Entitlements have been transferred in the last 12 months (the transfer will not yet be reflected in the Statement);
• Application has been made for separate Sugar Support (details from their Sugar Information Statement will not appear on the Statement);
• National Reserve entitlements have been altered as a result of a change in European Commission Regulations in August 2006 (this can be checked by comparing the number of Eng Res entitlements on their definitive 2005 Entitlements Statements with the 2006 Statement);
• There are outstanding 2005 entitlement processing issues (these will include those identified by RPA as well as those arising from outstanding representations and appeals).

RPA chief executive Tony Cooper said: “I appreciate that issuing ‘indicative’ Entitlements Statements is far from satisfactory and I’m sorry that we’ve had to do so, but we concluded that it is better to issue all customers with an Entitlements Statement at this stage and identify where they are not completely correct.

“In most of these cases farmers need take no further action and do not need to call RPA. If further information is needed, we will contact them.

“Revaluing the three regional flat rates is a vital part of the preparatory work we have to do to enable us to make SPS payments.”

Read all the news of the Single Farm Payment Scheme from FWi here

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