With a new Single Payment Scheme coming into effect, Arthur Chambers of Carter Jonas, has compiled some brief answers to the most common questions farmers might ask
Q I understand that the Single Payment Scheme is coming to an end and a new scheme will take its place. When will this happen?
A The Single Payment Scheme started in 2005 and was originally set to finish at the end of 2012. However due to the drawn-out negotiations in Brussels, the scheme was extended through 2013 and 2014. The new scheme, which will be called the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), will commence on January 1, 2015, and it will be significantly different from the existing scheme.
Q What will happen to my Single Payment Scheme entitlements when the new scheme comes in?
A Your existing Single Payment Scheme Entitlements will be lost but from January 1, 2015 you will be automatically reallocated the same number of new BPS Entitlements.
Q I have recently read that under the new Single Payment Scheme that there will be new regulations. In particular, I have seen a lot about 'Greening' being a major part of the new scheme. What is 'Greening'?
A The new Scheme will include 'Greening' measures which do not exist under the current Scheme. In order that farmers qualify to receive the full amount of subsidy available, they will need to comply with these new measures. Although the details are yet to be confirmed, 'Greening' will involve three elements: permanent pasture, crop diversification and ecological focus areas. The rules concerning permanent pasture are anticipated to be of little if any consequence to farmers but the rules concerning crop diversification and ecological focus areas will be onerous for some. However some farmers may qualify for exemptions from these greening measures although the rules in this respect are quite complicated and care will be required to ensure the rules are correctly interpreted because failure to do so could result in costly penalties.
Carter Jonas urges anyone with specific queries to contact the rural team in Wells on 01749 677667.