What will happen to my Single Farm Payment has been the question on so many farmers lips for the last year or so.
Ewan Harris, of Wooler-based Sale & Partners, says that at last the picture with the replacement to the Single Payment Scheme is becoming clearer.
The Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) will come into force on January 1, 2015, and it is likely that English farmers will simply have their current SFP entitlements replaced with their BPS equivalents. There will be no so-called Golden Ticket needed to claim.
Of most interest will be what is going to happen to the payment rates.
Ewan said: “The CAP budget has been reduced by nine per cent which is minimal, when you consider the EU-wide austerity measures currently under way. “Firstly, let’s not forget that the euro’s strength against sterling can have more effect on what English farmers receive than this latest round of CAP reform. It is however likely that payment rates will drop by approximately 15 per cent, though Defra may well decide to equalise the lowland and SDA payment rates and use some of the previous Lowland money to increase the moorland rate. This would give a slightly larger drop in income for the lowland farmers, those that Defra sees as needing less support.
“Farmers should take note of the measures within greening, which includes the requirement to diversify your cropping to a minimum of three crops if you have more than 30ha of arable on your farm. Ecological Focus Areas (EFA) mean that if your farm has more than 15ha of arable, five per cent of this area must be in an EFA, such as hedgerow, fallow land, buffer strips, etc. Again, exemptions apply to those farming smaller areas. How Defra handle the issue of the current stewardship schemes and these measures remain to be seen.”