It is strange times we are living in with much of the country in lockdown to Coronavirus, but food production and farming have to continue and this includes the annual application process for the Basic Payment Scheme.

The Cross Compliance rules remain the same as in previous years, but as a late concession to the very bad autumn and winter of 2019 to 2020, the RPA have relaxed the three crop rule for farmers claiming over 30 hectares of arable land.  Whilst this rule change for 2020 came too late for some it suited others who could amend their cropping plans as the weather had delayed their drilling and planting well into the spring.

The RPA themselves are largely all working from home and there will be no inspections whilst the current lockdown continues, but remember a significant number of  Cross Compliance failures and issues come from not keeping the appropriate records and not keeping Livestock registration records up to date. They also have the spy in the sky in the satellite images that can be obtained easily these days through the likes of Google Earth and other sources so it is important not to drop the ball and let the records slip.

The RPA is keen to do as much of this communication by Email and their online portal and for some this has meant switching from paper to online submissions. Fields that have been registered in the rural land register previously can be added to businesses by emailing the RPA before 4th May.  This saves sending paper RLE1 forms and maps etc.  Paper can still be sent where there is no other way of meeting the requirements.

Whilst ADAS staff are working from home or being the only person in an office we continue to work with our clients to help them achieve the requirements of firstly getting their BPS claims submitted online. We have been calling clients to go through the fields and record the information with regards to cropping either by telephone calls to landlines or mobiles, or conferences using Microsoft teams so we can share the same screen when discussing various field parcels.

Secondly, we are working remotely to help clients keep all the appropriate Cross Compliance records, though there are some rules we cannot prevent a client from being in breach of, if they cultivate, spray or fertilise too close to hedges and ditches, as we are not on-site when all the work is being done.

The ADAS team are working hard to make sure our clients get what they need whilst we are not able to visit them. In this National Crisis new ways of working have been found to achieve what is needed.

Don’t forget the BPS deadline for submission without penalty remain the 15th May 2020. If you want to discuss your claim, please contact Stephen Watson on +44 (0)7831 145167.