22 March 2002

RPA form blunder

HUNDREDS of Welsh farmers have had to wait almost two months for slaughter premium scheme claim forms to be sent by the Rural Payments Agency.

Two of those affected, Ralph and Gareth Powell, run 100 head of cattle in Powys. They called the RPA six weeks ago to order forms and were told they were in the post. Subsequent calls got the same response until the RPA admitted this week that the forms still hadnt arrived from the printers. Messers Powell are claiming for 15 head of cattle, totalling over £700 worth of premium.

Hundreds of other farmers are in the same situation, the RPA disclosed this week. The large backlog of applicants meant the Powells were told to allow another two months for the forms to arrive. This was disgraceful, said Gareth Powell, as it would take them very close to the June closing date for applications.

"There has been a hold up for Welsh producers," admitted a spokeswoman for the RPA. But the forms are now available and should be sent out before Easter, she added.

&#8226 The first check date for the Extensification Payment Scheme 2002, covering the period January/February, has been announced as Jan 9. The second and third check dates for March/April and May/June will be announced in May and July respectively. &#42