Farmers attending the Tillage Live 2014 agricultural event in Gloucestershire next week can talk with Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) experts on how new European ‘greening’ environmental measures will affect them.
The latest Defra Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) leaflet is available at the event, held at the Down Ampney airfield near Cirencester on Wednesday 10 September.
The leaflet gives important information to allow farmers to prepare for next year’s crop, and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will have experts on hand at the show to help answer any questions.
In 2015 the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) will be replaced by the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS). As part of BPS, farmers must follow the new greening rules or risk losing about 30 per cent of their total EU payment.
Under the new CAP, farming, wildlife, rural businesses and the wider economy in England are set to receive £15 billion in funding from 2014 to 2020.
RPA External Relations Director Arik Dondi said:
“People are encouraged to come along to the stand, speak to our CAP experts and pick up a copy of the latest CAP leaflet, which is also available to everyone on www.gov.uk.
“It includes updates on what we know so far about the new schemes, what they may mean for farmers and of course more information on the greening rules.
“If farmers are going to claim BPS it’s important they start thinking about the greening rules now, in case they have to change anything on their holding.
“We have included as much information as we can in this leaflet. We don’t know all the details about greening yet, but the leaflet will be useful if you’re a farmer, an agent or an agronomist.”
Defra, working with the RPA, Natural England and the Forestry Commission, is determined to implement the CAP in a way that is as simple, affordable and effective as possible.
From next year the way farmers, land managers and agents will apply for schemes and claim CAP payment is changing. Paper applications will be replaced by the new online CAP Information Service.
Nearly 70 per cent of SPS 2014 applications were made online. From next year all applicants for the new CAP schemes will need to be registered on the CAP Information Service.
The RPA will keep up-to-date information available through the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk/cap-reform.
CAP Information Service
The CAP Information Service will be the new online application and payment service for new CAP schemes. It is being built with the help of customers; their feedback is creating a simpler, more user-friendly service.
The service will be introduced gradually, initially with small groups of customers, and on an ongoing basis over the summer and autumn. Customers will be contacted directly and asked to register onto the CAP Information Service from late October onwards. Customers will be able to register, check their details are up to date and familiarise themselves with the service before the end of 2014. The RPA will be in contact with customers when the service is ready.
There will be various stages in applying for BPS: it is not a one-off application, but a process in a series of steps.
More and more government services are moving online. CAP is one of the first to move online and will cost taxpayers £154m to implement, a significant saving on the £600m spent on previous services over the last nine years.
All applications for the new CAP schemes will have to be made online from 2015. For SPS 2014, nearly 70 per cent of applications were made online.
We understand that some customers can’t get online, or don’t have access to a computer or the skills to use one. We will provide a range of additional support to those customers, which we’re calling ‘extra help’.
We are working to identify those customers most likely to need the extra help. We will be communicating directly with them over the coming months to help them get the appropriate support, for example through new Digital Support Centres where some customers will be able to get face-to-face help to use the CAP Information Service. The RPA will contact customers when the service is available to use.
Under the new CAP, which comes into effect from 2015, farming, wildlife, rural businesses and the wider economy in England are set to benefit from £15 billion in funding.
Defra is developing CAP schemes to reflect the new requirements including those relating to greening, the active farmer test, hill farmers and young farmers and a new online service to help everyone who wants to apply for CAP funds to do so in a quick and simple way.
Defra, working with the RPA, Natural England and the Forestry Commission is determined to implement the CAP in a way that is as simple, affordable and effective as possible.
At each step of the countdown, information will be made available to help people understand how the new CAP will affect them, and what they need to do, and by when, to move as smoothly as possible to the new schemes and online service.
The CAP Reform section of the GOV.UK website provides a single point of access to further guidance on CAP. The CAP Reform Countdown symbol is being used to flag up important information about CAP Reform. Farmers and land managers will see this on webpages and other documents in coming months.
As decisions are made this information will be:
- Timely – RPA is already letting farmers and land managers know now about early business decisions they must take on issues like entitlements transfer and crop diversification.
- Available to everyone who needs it – existing and potential new customers.
- Easy to understand and act upon – no complicated jargon.
- Clearly signposted – the CAP Reform Countdown symbol means there is important information you need to know or actions to take now.
- Summer – Asking some farmers to look at the new system to check personal and business details. This will be an ongoing process rolling out to all customers by the end of the year. We’ll also be supplying more information and guidance on greening, the BPS and cross compliance throughout the summer and rest of the year.
- Autumn – Clear guidance for young farmers and new entrants to the scheme.
- Winter – Farmers will be able to look at their maps/land online before January once they have registered on the system, and information and guidance will also be published on the new environmental land management scheme.
- In 2015 – Farmers and land managers will be able to look at their land online, check their entitlements and submit applications. Further system release, CAP Reform leaflets and BPS handbook to be published.
Most of the funding under the new CAP period - more than £11.5bn - will be paid under direct payment schemes to farmers. The new BPS, including the greening payment and the young farmer payment, will replace the SPS.
There will also be at least £3.5bn of investment into the environment and rural economy under Rural Development schemes over the next seven years. The programme will support the environment, farming and forestry sectors, businesses and communities in rural areas. Even with a smaller overall CAP budget, the Government will be spending a bigger share on the environment than before.
Want to know more?
Anyone interested in reading more about CAP Reform and the discussions that are taking place – including the Defra consultations – should go to www.gov.uk/cap-reform .