The ‘silly season’ is truly upon us! The reinvention of paper-based applications will now be focussing the minds of farmers and agents alike as application forms start arriving by email and post.
By way of guidance to those involved with preparing and submitting applications, here are some ‘pointers’ (not exhaustive!):-
1. Deadline dates for submission of BP5 Forms, RLE 1 Forms, forms for the Young Farmers’ Scheme and New Farmers’ Scheme, and the new annual Stewardship Claim Forms is midnight on 15th June 2015;
2. To claim BPS, the land must be ‘at your disposal’ on 15th May;
3. To claim, you MUST first register with the RPA (call 03000 200 301), then ensure the relevant ‘permissions’ are in-place;
4. Read the relevant Guidance books – ‘How to apply for the 2015 Basic Payment Scheme in England’ (or your relevant country) and ‘The Basic Payment Scheme in England – 2015’. There is also an updated RLE1 Guidance book;
5. If you have not recently received a copy of your RLR maps, call the RPA;
6. Check that the data on the BP5 form and RLR maps reconcile and includes all relevant parcels;
7. Print a set of maps and annotate these with cropping, other field uses (eg ELS/HLS features) and areas, etc. Keep as a record of base data;
8. Ensure all ‘permanent ineligible features’ (pifs) and ‘temporary ineligible features’ (tifs) are deducted from column C4. An RLE1 Form will be required to inform the RPA of any new ‘pifs’ (ie those not already scheduled on the RLR maps);
9. The total area declared in column C4 will determine the maximum number of Entitlements you will retain as at 15/06/15. Any surplus will be taken for the National Reserve. Consider selling/gifting any surplus Entitlements before 15/06/15;
10. If you are in a Dual Use situation but not claiming BPS, you still need to include those parcels on your BP5 Form, but deduct the areas from columns C4 and C8. Use code ND01 or PG01 in column C7.
11. Grass margins not being used for ‘greening’ can be coded with the main crop for that parcel;
12. Calculate your ‘greening’ requirements. Section D of the BP5 form schedules the features upon which you are relying for the EFA;
13. An extensive list of Land use codes has been published by the RPA;
14. Consider whether or not you automatically qualify as an Active Farmer. If not, consider if ‘re-admission’ applies;
15. You may prefer to deliver your application and supporting documents to one of the RPA Support Centres;
Although there is still plenty of time to complete this task, don’t under-estimate how long it will take. The advent of ‘greening’ makes the application process more complicated. There are also several other differences in how the RPA need the BP5 form completing, compared to previous years.
Brown & Co specialise in this type of work based on a rigorous procedural and checking process. We are able to offer advice and guidance on the completion of the BP5 and associated forms, accurately measure areas (eg split-cropped fields etc), act as your agent and complete the documentation on your behalf and deal with any related matters.
If you would like some assistance with your application, then please contact one of our team at an office near you.