Farmers offered extension to mid-tier CSS deadline

Farmers in England struggling to complete a Countryside Stewardship mid-tier application on time because of the effect of the coronavirus pandemic can request an extension until midnight 31 August.

The deadline for mid-tier applications remains 31 July and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is encouraging people to stick to that timetable if they are able to do so.

However, a new “exceptions” process has been agreed to help anyone who believes they will not be able to meet the 31 July deadline.

See also: How farmers are capitalising on Countryside Stewardship Scheme

Alice De Soer, policy adviser at the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV), said the exceptions process had largely been introduced to accommodate agents submitting multiple applications, but finding the process of gathering the required information much slower than normal because of coronavirus complications.

It was important to try wherever possible to get applications done by 31 July, as that would help the RPA to manage its workflow and get agreements processed and out by the 1 January 2021 start date, she said.

But for those applicants who would need some extra time, the process is very simple.

“It is basically a notification process – you must email or phone the helpline by 31 July to effectively put them on notice that you will not be able to put the application in by 31 July,” she said.

“Once you’ve done that email, you’ve then got up to 31 August [to make the application]. It is as simple as that.”

The deadline for anyone applying for one of the simplified CSS Wildlife Offers remains 31 July, with no exceptions allowed.

Request an extension

Applicants must email the RPA (ruralpayments@defra.gov.uk) by 31 July to request a time extension. The email should have “CS 2020 Mid Tier application exception” as the subject title.

Anyone unable to email, can call the helpline on 03000 200 301.

No specific evidence of why an extension is required needs to be included with the email.

Once the request has been made and you have received a receipt to your email, the process is automatic.

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