Five things farmers need to know about dual use changes

In this online question and answer session Alice De Soer, from the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (Caav) explores how the latest decision on dual use could have implications for your farming business whether you are a tenant or a landlord.

The report covers what dual use is, when applications can be made under the new rules, what land parcels can be included and which might need to be withdrawn and what stewardship scheme might be the best fit in different situations.

1. What is dual use?

It is where one person, usually a landlord, includes land in an agri-environment agreement and another farmer, the tenant, uses the same land to claim under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) at the same time.

Alice De Soer
Alice De Soer
Central Association of Agricultural Valuers

2. Is it possible for a landlord to apply for CSS this year?

A landlord can apply now for a CSS agreement that starts from 1 January 2016, but if his tenant will be claiming BPS in 2016 on the same land he can only apply to the higher tier this year.

His tenant can, however, apply to the mid-tier scheme by 30 September 2015 because there is no dual use – the tenant is the only claimant for CSS and BPS.

See also: Defra’s dual use decision attacked by farm leaders

If the landlord wants to apply to the mid-tier scheme this year, he should exclude any land parcels his tenant will be claiming for BPS 2016.

This only applies to CSS agreements that start from 1 January 2016, as the dual use rules change from 1 January 2017.

3. I am a landlord, what do I do if I have already submitted a CSS mid-tier application?

If you have included fields in a mid-tier CSS application which your tenant will be using to claim BPS 2016, you can contact Natural England to withdraw those land parcels.

Fields can be removed from an application after the 30 September application deadline up until you are offered an agreement.

4. Will a landlord be able to apply for CSS mid-tier next year?

Yes. The rules change for CSS applications from next year.

A landlord will be able to apply to both the mid-tier CSS and higher-tier CSS for an agreement starting from 1 January 2017, even if his tenant will be claiming BPS on the same land in 2017.

5. What dual use rules apply to environmental stewardship (ES)?

Dual use is allowed for existing ES agreements. But the written evidence conditions must be met – so the landlord and tenant need to show they meet the eligibility criteria for ES and BPS, respectively, and the landlord must make the tenant aware of his ES agreement requirements.

It is likely the same will apply to dual use under CSS.

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