Later this autumn and into 2015, Defra will be inviting farmers and landowners to register for the new digital-only payment service for CAP schemes.

Farmers and landowners who want to make a claim under the new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) will need to register for and start using the CAP Information Service.

When it is time to register, customers will receive a registration pack from Defra.

In preparation for the launch of the system, Berrys land agent Judy Pearson has put together a helpful checklist of five things you should do now:

1. Get ready for greening: Consult info online, Defra documents and agents’ bespoke services, such as greening calculators. Make sure you are geared up to comply with the relevant parts of greening that affect you.

2. Look at your entitlements: Look at how much land you can claim on and how many entitlements you have. Do you have a surplus or shortfall, do you need to buy or sell? The deadline to transfer SPS entitlements for them to morph into BPS entitlements is 21 October 2014. You will be able to transfer entitlements and land after this, but we don’t know how the process will work or what the deadlines will be. Doing it before 21 October ensures using a system that you already understand.

3. Sort out your stewardship: Letters about ELS/OELS have started dropping on doormats. These tell you about whether you have a double-funding issue and the options you can take. Look out for the letter and take action if necessary.

4. New online system: Get ready for the new online system in terms of software or get someone lined up to do it for you, for example an agent. There will be no offline options, you will have to communicate with the RPA using the new electronic system or by phone. Even if you already complete your returns online, you will have to re-register. It is an entirely new system that will affect all RPA customers.

5. Keep up to date: There are lots of ways to keep abreast with what’s happening and when new info is released, for example the Defra site, Farmers Weekly magazine and my blog.

Judy Pearson BSc (Hons) DipLaw MRICS FAAV is a chartered rural surveyor working for Berrys , based in Kettering, Northamptonshire. She can be contacted by email: Read her Blonde Ag Advisor blog and follow her on Twitter: @blondeagadvisor

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