One in five farmers looking to make their own Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) claims has not yet received a paper application form, a survey has found.
A survey of 126 NFU members, which concluded on 4 May, showed 18% had yet to receive a form or email containing the form.
NFU vice-president Guy Smith said the figure was “worryingly high” given that the deadline for applications in England – 15 June – was only five weeks away.
Up to 1 May, the same NFU survey found 119 out of 424 farmers (28%) had not received a paper form or email.
However the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) said on Wednesday (6 May) that all farmers should have received their forms by now.
The NFU Basic Payment Scheme Survey Spring 2015 also found that 96% of 820 farmers polled had registered for BPS.
When asked whether they had been provided with enough information about the new paper-based system, 237 (29%) said “no”, 311 (38%) said “yes” and 272 (33%) were “unsure”.
Just over half of farmers – 424 (52%) – said they had employed a professional to assist them with their applications. Of these, 289 (35%) were using land agents.
Thirty-two per cent said the information they had received on pre-populated BP5 forms was correct, 13% said it was not and 55% did not know or had not checked.
Fifty-nine per cent said their maps were correct, 26% said they were not and 15% did not know.
The RPA has opened 50 support centres where farmers can drop off their claims.
Of those surveyed, 58% said they were aware and 42% said they unaware of the centres. Sixty-six of these (8%) said they expected to use a centre.