Dairy farmer at a computer© Rex Features

The Rural Payments Agency is to update farmers on progress with the registration system for the new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

Agency chief executive Mark Grimshaw is due to give a presentation to farm leaders at an NFU Council meeting on Tuesday (20 January).

See also: BPS registration to open up to all farmers

More than half of all farm and agricultural agents have registered for new rural payments service, according to the agency.

But the process has often been less than straightforward – fuelling concern that many farmers will have difficulties registering and some will be unable to do so at all.

The agency contacted about 1,200 agents last month to provide support in registering and becoming some of the first users of the new system.

This included more than 170 firms of agents; individual agents; professional advisers and others who support farmers to make their claims.

“We are pleased that more than half of agents have now registered and would urge those that have not already done so to register as soon as possible.” Ian Hewett, RPA

So far more than 140 firms of agents and more than 750 agents have registered on the service.

The agency has now encouraged those agents to help the 32,000 farmers, landowners and food producers they represent to register.

Agency change director Ian Hewett said: “There is lots for farmers, food producers and landowners to do this year.

“The new rules mean we will have to gather lots of new information and our customers will need to check the information they have already given us is still correct.”

Mr Hewett said clients of farm agents were expected to account for about one-third of the claimants for the new BPS.

“We are pleased that more than half of agents have now registered and would urge those that have not already done so to register as soon as possible.

“We are building a new digital service to make it as easy as possible for them to help their customers to get their money.”

Increasing numbers of individual farmers and land owners who do not use an agent will be invited to register on the new service “very soon,” said the agency.

The online service is the only way for farmers to claim their rural payments money and applicants are advised to register as soon as they are invited.