The government has announced that direct payments will be paid in two instalments for the remainder of the agricultural transition period to help farmers across the UK with increasing cost pressures.
Following the deadline for submitting Basic Payment Scheme applications on the 16th of May 2022, eligible farmers will receive 50% of their total payment at the end of July, with the balance being paid from December.
Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said: “While increasing farm gate prices may mean that farm profitability remains stable, we recognise the short term pressures on cash flow.
“We have decided to bring forward half of this year’s BPS payment as an advance injection of cash to farm businesses from the end of this July. It will give farmers some additional cash flow earlier in order to provide some confidence. We will also make this a permanent change to the way we pay BPS in future with twice yearly instalments going forward.
“In the days of the EU, this would never have been possible due to the way audits worked and the need to enforce the three crop rule during the summer.”
Rural Payments Agency chief executive Paul Caldwell said: “Bringing forward half of this year’s BPS payment from the end of July will be a welcome boost to cash flow for many farm businesses during uncertain times.
“This is not just an opportunity to support farmers here and now through a cash injection. It’s a permanent change to bring Direct Payments in line with what will be a more regular payment system under the new environment land management schemes.”
NFU responds to the latest measures
NFU vice president David Exwood said: “With farmers facing extreme inflationary pressure and businesses being squeezed more than ever, any advance payment of BPS claims for this year is positive and will help cash flow. I’m pleased Defra and the RPA have recognised the seriousness of the situation and put in place a practical solution.
“However, it’s crucial that this change does not adversely affect the delivery and promptness of payments. As Defra plan to move forward with two payment windows on a permanent basis, we will be looking for reassurances from the RPA that it will continue its strong delivery performance and ensure farmers receive their payments as early as possible on both occasions. We’d ask the RPA to continue working with the NFU on the rollout and delivery of the scheme.
“With the BPS claims deadline looming, I would urge all farmers to get their claims in as soon as possible, making sure all details are correct and up-to-date.”