About us

What we do

We pay out over £2 billion each year to support a thriving farming and food sector.

As the paying agency for the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) schemes in England, we make payments to farmers, traders and land owners. We also make payments on behalf of Natural England, and manage over 40 schemes to help ensure we have a healthy rural economy and strong rural communities.

Who we are

Our headquarters are in Reading, and we have major offices in Carlisle, Exeter, Newcastle, Workington and York, and we employ around 2,300 staff.


We’re responsible for:

  • managing milk quotas and other CAP trader schemes covering dairy products, crops, and fruit and vegetables
  • export refunds, and import and export licences for the farming sector
  • making payments for rural development schemes, including environmental stewardship
  • running cattle tracing services that record more than 20 million cattle births, movements and deaths each year across Great Britain
  • carrying out over 23,000 inspections each year at farms, processing plants and fresh produce markets
  • managing the Rural Land Register, the database of 2.4 million land parcels used for all land-based CAP schemes
  • enforcing horticultural marketing standards through more than 25,000 checks in wholesale and retail outlets


From 2014 to 2015, our priorities are to:

  • prepare our customers and stakeholders for CAP reform (due 2015)
  • work closely with Defra’s CAP delivery programme to prepare replacement systems for CAP reform and avoid the errors made during the introduction of CAP 2005
  • support the government’s drive towards ‘digital by default’ by encouraging our customers to interact with us online
  • comply with EU rules and minimise the risk of disallowance penalties for any misspending of EU funds

Corporate information

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