The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has today (28 October) published the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) entitlement rates.
The Basic Payment Scheme is the biggest of the rural grants and payments that provide help to the farming industry. Farmers apply once a year and payments begin to land in farmers’ bank accounts in December.
In order to simplify BPS payments, from 2021 farmers no longer have to meet the so-called greening requirements that used to apply to land in England (such as crop diversification), which historically didn’t deliver effectively for the environment. While greening payments have been removed, the budget previously allocated to them has now been added to the overall entitlement rates, which has increased to reflect the combined value. Farmers still have to meet the minimum standards on the environment, animal and plant health, and animal welfare, such as rules on hedges and buffer strips.
For 2021, BPS payment rates for England are set in Sterling.
From this year, Direct Payments in England will be gradually phased out, and a seven-year transition will provide farmers with the time to adapt to the changes. Starting from 2021, payments will be reduced – with initial bigger reductions in higher payment bands, which will work similarly to income tax bands. Money from reduced payments will be invested back into farming and the countryside.