Farm leaders call for clarity on BPS 2020

The NFU has called for clarity over the rules governing next year’s Basic Payment Scheme 2020 – warning that Brexit delays are causing confusion and concern among farmers.

NFU vice-president Stuart Roberts is urging Defra to come forward with details that clarify the rules which farmers will need to adhere to this year.

The government has suggested that payments will be simplified after the UK leaves the European Union.

See also: Abstraction licence breaches could lead to BPS penalties

Defra set out its plans last year to simplify BPS 2020 under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, which was expected to come into force in March 2019.

But the NFU says Brexit delays have raised questions over what – if any – alterations will be legally possible before next year.

Plan ahead

Mr Roberts said: “As we speak, farmers are deciding on their plans for next year, including their cropping for harvest 2020, and it is imperative they have certainty over the requirements of BPS 2020 in order to make informed decisions.”

The NFU has worked with the RPA and Defra to try to simplify BPS 2020 rules to help reduce red tape for farm businesses.

But farmers needed to know here they stood on aspects of BPS such as greening, which covers 30% of the current payments, said Mr Roberts.

A positive opportunity to make any significant changes appeared to have been missed simply because time had run out, he warned.