The deadline for landowners and farmers to transfer entitlements in readiness for the Common Agricultural Policy Reform is only days away.
The current Single Payment Scheme (SPS) entitlements are due to be converted by the Rural Payments Agency from Wednesday, October 22, into the Basic Payment Scheme.
This means that, in particular, people who have less than five hectares of land, such as smallholders, and who have qualified for the SPS, should consider whether they wish to transfer their entitlements to another farmer or landowner.
Equally, farmers who have more entitlements than the area of land they can declare in 2015, may need to make decisions about the new scheme sooner rather than later.
The Rural Payments Agency needs to receive forms (RLE1) about the transfer of entitlements by midnight on Tuesday, 21 October, and the effective date of transfer stated on the form must be on or before December 3.
From 22 October to early 2015, the Agency will be converting current SPS entitlements into Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) entitlements, so it will not be possible to transfer entitlements during this period.
RPA change director Ian Hewett said: “We are working to implement the new CAP in a way that is simple, affordable and effective and want to make sure that the countdown to the new scheme is as smooth a change as possible for our customers. Although we have been working with stakeholders and customers for some time to publicise what is clearly a very important date, we felt it would be helpful to remind farmers and landowners as the deadline approaches.”
Entitlements can also be transferred next year by using the new CAP Information Service. Customers will need to register on the system to do this. They will be able to do this once they receive a registration pack.
The CAP Information Service online system will be introduced gradually, initially with small groups of customers, and on an ongoing basis over the autumn and winter. Customers will be contacted directly and asked to register onto the system. Customers will be able to register, check their details are up to date and familiarise themselves with the new system before confirming their entitlements, eligibility and submitting a BPS application in 2015. RPA will give more information when the service is ready.
The RLE1 form and entitlement transfer guidance can be found on GOV.UK. The RLE 1 form can still be used after October 21 to tell RPA of any land transfers or mapping changes that need to be made. Up-to-date information about CAP Reform is available through the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk/cap-reform.