The deadline is looming for farmers to submit their Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and agri-environment stewardship applications.
Farmers across all four regions of the UK will need to return their completed applications by midnight on Wednesday 15 May 2019 in order to avoid penalties.
Applications and supporting documents that are received from 16 May, up to and including 10 June, will receive late claim penalties. Applications received after 10 June 2019 will be completely rejected.
The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is encouraging the last remaining farmers to submit their BPS 2019, Countryside Stewardship (CS) and Environmental Stewardship (ES) claims before the deadline.
Submit your Basic Payment Scheme, Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship claims in before the deadline: midnight, 15 May.#CS2019 #BPS2019 @NFUtweets @CLA @DefraFAS @IAgSA_UK pic.twitter.com/1RWMneaHmB
— RPA (@Ruralpay) May 10, 2019
BPS and CS applicants can update and submit their claims and applications through the Rural Payments Service.
ES agreement holders would have received a claim form, which needs to be filled out and returned through the post. They must ensure that enough time is left for the form to arrive before the deadline.
Only 44% of NI BPS claims submitted
In Northern Ireland, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Development (Daera) urged farmers to submit their online Single Application without delay.
Teresa O’Neill, head of area-based schemes delivery at Daera, said on Thursday (9 May): “We expect to receive approximately 25,000 Single Applications and to date, we have received 11,000 [approximately 44%].
“Farmers should not take unnecessary risks by assuming their application could be straightforward.”
For NI’s Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS), all tranche one and tranche two EFS participants, who started their agreements on 1 July 2017, 1 January 2018 or 1 January 2019, must make their claim for payment on the online Single Application.
Good weather forces delays
In Scotland, there are about 18,000 eligible BPS applications each year. But it is feared the good weather in April may have seen many farmers and crofters prioritise busy spring work over their Single Application Form (SAF).
Jenny Brunton, NFU Scotland policy manager for CAP schemes, said: “The deadline of 15 May is fast approaching and we urge farmers and crofters to concentrate on completing their submission before the last hour.
“The key thing that everyone completing a form needs to do is double-check before and after submission that what is intended to be the BPS claim is actually what is submitted, and don’t forget the young farmer top-up if you are lucky enough to be in that age bracket.”
In Wales, farmers should complete their annual payment claims using the Rural Payments Wales online facility.