The Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) application window has opened today (15 March) for farmers to claim for their 2022 payments. The claim window for customers with existing Countryside Stewardship (CS) and Environmental Stewardship (ES) revenue agreements has also opened.
Farmers are being encouraged to apply as soon as they are able, to ensure applications are submitted ahead of the deadline of 16 May.
All applicants can quickly update their personal and business information by applying through the Rural Payments service, where farmers and their agents can also view and transfer their BPS entitlements and land parcels.
Rural Payments Agency (RPA) Chief Executive Paul Caldwell said:
I am pleased that last year we paid over 98% of all BPS claims in the first month. This year we are committed to match this target, and ensure timely payments to all farmers and land managers – but we strongly encourage all eligible farmers to submit their applications as soon as possible.
We will continue to build on our performance while also supporting farmers across the country to make the most of the opportunities arising from the transition to the new farming schemes.
Since leaving the Common Agricultural Policy, the Government is introducing a new system that is tailored to the interests of English farmers. The new environment land management schemes are the most significant change to farming and land management in 50 years, designed to deliver a renewed agricultural sector, producing healthy food for consumption at home and abroad, where farms can be profitable and economically sustainable.
Since last year, Direct Payments are being gradually reduced – with the biggest reductions made to the higher payment bands. Reductions will be applied until the last payments are made in 2027.
The savings from phasing out these payments will free up funds which will go back to farmers and land managers through new grants, and through the roll-out of the three environment land management schemes, namely the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery, which will incentivise sustainable farming practices alongside profitable food production.
Later this year, Defra will open applications for the Lump Sum Exit Scheme, which provides financial support to BPS applicants in England who wish to retire or leave farming in a planned way. Farmers who are considering applying for the Lump Sum Exit Scheme are encouraged to apply for BPS in 2022 as well as applying for the Lump Sum Exit Scheme later on. This will protect applicants if they find that they are not eligible for the lump sum payment, cannot complete the transfer of their land in time, or decide to withdraw their application before payments are made.