One in five farmers yet to receive BPS paper forms

One in five farmers looking to make their own Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) claims has not yet received a paper application form, a survey has found.

A survey of 126 NFU members, which concluded on 4 May, showed 18% had yet to receive a form or email containing the form.

NFU vice-president Guy Smith said the figure was “worryingly high” given that the deadline for applications in England – 15 June – was only five weeks away.

Up to 1 May, the same NFU survey found 119 out of 424 farmers (28%) had not received a paper form or email.

However the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) said on Wednesday (6 May) that all farmers should have received their forms by now.

See also: RPA emails farmers pre-populated Basic Payment forms

The NFU Basic Payment Scheme Survey Spring 2015 also found that 96% of 820 farmers polled had registered for BPS.

When asked whether they had been provided with enough information about the new paper-based system, 237 (29%) said “no”, 311 (38%) said “yes” and 272 (33%) were “unsure”.

Just over half of farmers – 424 (52%) – said they had employed a professional to assist them with their applications. Of these, 289 (35%) were using land agents.

Thirty-two per cent said the information they had received on pre-populated BP5 forms was correct, 13% said it was not and 55% did not know or had not checked.

Fifty-nine per cent said their maps were correct, 26% said they were not and 15% did not know.

The RPA has opened 50 support centres where farmers can drop off their claims.

Of those surveyed, 58% said they were aware and 42% said they unaware of the centres. Sixty-six of these (8%) said they expected to use a centre.

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