Farmers urged to register

Time is running out to contact the Rural Payments Agency.
Time is running out to contact the Rural Payments Agency.

Farmers and landowners who are not yet online or who have a slow internet connection are being reminded to contact the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to avoid missing out on farm payments.

To apply for the Basic Payment Scheme in 2015 and use the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) information service, farmers will need to be able to go online.

However, with many rural areas still unable to access a reliable broadband connection, the RPA has posted out a special request for help form to all claimants, which must be completed and returned by Tuesday, October 14.

CLA North regional director Dorothy Fairburn said: “As part of its agenda to go digital by default, the Government will only be accepting online Single Payment requests from next year. We know from our own research that there are still thousands of farmers and landowners throughout the North who don’t use the internet or have a very slow broadband connection. We are urging them to make sure they contact the RPA by October 14 so they don’t miss out on vital future payments.”

The CLA has been lobbying for improved broadband in rural areas for a number of years and is calling on Government to implement a Universal Service Obligation that will ensure every household can access a connection of at least two Mbps by 2015.

Miss Fairburn added: “Far too many rural communities in the North are still in the digital slow lane.

“It is only through providing an effective and affordable broadband connection that individuals will be able to access the array of new services available online and businesses will be able to compete on a level playing field with their urban-based competitors.”