DEFRA answers SFP questions

DEFRA HAS announced how it will address single farm payment issues on holdings spanning more than one region.

The decision has faced long delays due to the different approaches to the Single Payment Scheme adopted by each of the devolved administrations.

But DEFRA has now announced that farmers with land in more than one country should apply to the agency in the country where most of their land lies.

For the crop-based schemes the reference data will be appointed on the basis of where the crops were growing during the reference period, DEFRA explained. 

For livestock systems the reference data will be based on the location of the declared forage area for the reference period. 

A similar calculation will be used for dairy payments, based on the forage area declared in 2005.

The Country Land & Business Association has welcomed the decisions taken.

Different criteria will be applied to the moorland area within the Severely Disadvantaged Areas or SDA boundary areas.

“This announcement is a welcome clarification for all the cross-border farmers who have anxiously been awaiting news on how their reference payment will be allocated,” said Mark Hudson, CLA President.

“The CLA, together with other farming organisations, suggested to DEFRA as far back as May that this solution was the most workable for cross border holdings.

“We wonder why it has taken six months to announce this decision.”

A ‘notional‘ stocking rate of 1.5ewes/ha will be applied to the SDA moorland area of England with the remaining reference amount being allocated on a pro-rata basis.

“The scheme simplifies the 10 main existing subsidies under one umbrella and will considerably reduce the administrative burden for farmers,” said Lord Whitty, junior DEFRA minister.

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