Farmers with slow internet urged to get CAP help

Farmers and landowners who are not online or have a slow internet connection are being urged to contact the RPA to get help with the new digital farm payments system.

To apply for the Basic Payment Scheme in 2015 farmers must use the new CAP information service, which means they must go online.

However, with many rural areas still unable to access a reliable broadband connection, the RPA has posted out a special “request for help” form to claimants, which must be completed and returned by Tuesday 14 October.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is encouraging farmers to take advantage of the new package of help measures and return the forms to the RPA as soon as possible to avoid missing out on farm payments.

Read also: Tech-challenged farmers offered CAP digital help

CLA Midlands regional director Caroline Bedell said: “As part of its agenda to go ‘digital by default’, the government will only be accepting online single payment requests from next year.

“Obviously, this is not ideal as there are still many farmers and landowners throughout the region who don’t use the internet or have a very slow broadband connection. We are urging them to contact the RPA by 14 October so they don’t miss out on vital future payments.

The RPA has acknowledged the problems and made some resource available to help farmers get online, including a rollout of regional digital support centres, which will offer one to one training sessions.

The CLA has been lobbying for improved broadband in rural areas for more than 10 years.

The organisation, which represents more than 35,000 members in England and Wales, is calling on government to implement a universal service obligation that will ensure every household can access a connection of at least 2Mbps by 2015.

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