There are some key changes to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) which will take effect from the 1st January 2018, including:
• Active Farmer – Member States have the option to drop the “active farmer” rule. DEFRA is considering this at the moment and this may take effect in England for BPS 2018 and should be confirmed by early 2018. Decisions are awaited from other parts of the UK.
• EFA Fallow – temporary grassland – Temporary grassland declared as EFA fallow will be subject to the usual 5-year calculation for the assessment of permanent grassland. At present, temporary grassland declared as EFA fallow retains its “arable” status regardless of how long it is down to grass.
• EFA Nitrogen-Fixing Crops – The weighting applicable to EFA nitrogen-fixing crops will increase from 0.7 to 1.
• Greening Exemptions – The requirement that there must be no more than 30 hectares of other arable area when using the two main greening exemptions has been dropped.
• Young Farmer – The Young Farmer top-up payment will be made for five years from the year of their first BPS submission, provided that was submitted within 5 years of them setting up as a Young Farmer. The current rules see the payment being made for a maximum of 5 years from when they started or took control of the business, not when they first submit a BPS application. There is also the option for Member States to increase Young Farmer top-up payments to 50% of the average value of the entitlements they hold.
The Regulation is expected to be published in the Official Journal in February/March 2018, but the mandatory changes will take effect for BPS 2018.
If you think you will be affected by the above, and require further advice on your options then please contact Steph Emmerson at firstname.lastname@example.org or your local FCG office.