Young people in farming partnerships could lose out on additional BPS payments if they do not submit evidence of their partnership voting rights by midnight on 15 June.
Under the new CAP scheme, farmers under 40 years old can claim up to £4,000/year for a maximum of five years as part of the Young Farmers Scheme.
This is the equivalent of a 25% top-up on entitlement payments for up to 90ha.
To be eligible, applicants must have control over the farming business and have set up or taken control of the farming business for the first time on 1 January 2010 or later.
But until recently there was confusion over how “control” of a business was defined in a partnership.
Defra has now clarified this and applicants must prove they have more than a 50% ownership share or more than a 50% profit share. In addition they must demonstrate they have more than a 50% voting share.
A young farmer who does not meet these criteria on their own can still claim the payment but will need a formal agreement with one or more other business partners that they will vote together to give them a voting majority and a majority of the business shares.
Only one of the farmers ‘in control’ needs to meet the rules for young farmers. However, if there are two or more young farmers in the partnership, they are still eligible if their combined shares and votes are more than 50%.
David Missen, head of agriculture at MHA, an association of accountancy and business advisory firms, said:
“Partnerships need to act now to conduct an urgent review of their arrangements and potentially put a voting agreement in place in order to qualify, or else risk missing out.
“While the announcement brings clarity to those accountants and solicitors who will need to certify eligibility, the onus is now on farming partnerships to produce the required evidence or create a formal voting agreement in just a few weeks.”
* This article was updated on Wednesday 27 May 2015 *