The Rural Payments Agency has launched a campaign to encourage more farmers and landowners in England to sign up for the Basic Payment Scheme.
The campaign, called “#Tell10”, aims to motivate those who have not already registered for the scheme to sign up now.
Up to Friday (13 February), nearly 45% of farm businesses in England eligible for BPS 2015 have registered for the new Rural Payments online service.
However, about 50,000 eligible claimants in England have yet to sign up for the service, which has a 15 May deadline for submissions.
The RPA is urging farmers and landowners to sign up for the service as soon as possible, to allow plenty of time to build applications.
The campaign aims to encourage registered farmers to “tell 10 farmers or landowners in their communities”, who may not be aware of the changes, that they need to act now and enroll.
“Farmers and landowners need to know that the new online Rural Payments service is the only way to claim this year,” said an RPA spokesman.
“They should visit the RPA website or call the Rural Payments helpline on 03000 200 301 to find out more.
“Some believe because they are registered for the old Single Payment Scheme, they don’t have to do anything. Not true – everyone has to register, even existing SPS customers.
“Others think there is plenty of time between now and 15 May. Not so. There is lots to do in this first year of the Basic Payment Scheme and you will need to log in and out of the service several times as you build your claim.”
The RPA is urging registered farmers to tip off those who have yet to register by contacting them directly.
“If you have the time and the expertise, maybe you could even help them to apply?” added the spokesman.
“We don’t mind if you do this in the pub, at an industry gathering, via a text or by simply picking up the telephone, just so long as they are made aware of what they need to do next.”
The RPA is also concerned about those farmers who might find it difficult to get online to claim and has set up a network of support options to help.
The payments agency said it would work with Farmers Weekly to provide regular updated numbers on BPS registrations as the countdown to the 15 May deadline continues.
If you know anyone who might be affected, tell them to ring the Rural Payments helpline on 03000 200 301 in the first instance to discuss their needs.