DEFRA HAS extended the deadline for the application ofr ex-gratia payments to February 28, to allow farmers time to give a more considered response

DEFRA has promised it will contact farmers who received an ex gratia payment during the 2000-2002 reference period to advise them how to maximise their single farm payment entitlement.

The letter will remind producers that ex gratia payments – such as Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme payments – will not be considered in the reference amount calculation.

But farmers who feel they are disadvantaged can register as a hardship case before Feb 28.

The hardship provisions are available to farmers who can prove that a particular scheme should be excluded from the calculation for one or more reference years.

And that must be because of exceptional circumstances.

The same Feb 28 deadline will apply for farmers who can prove they were in an agri-environment scheme during the reference period which affected agricultural production.

To apply for agri-environment hardship they must complete a form SP2B, which will be automatically sent out to farmers who have already submitted an SP2 form.

Farmers who have not previously applied should contact the RPA‘s Exeter office (01392 266024) to obtain an SP2B.