NFU Vice President Guy Smith said ”The NFU has worked with Paul over many years, in particular, tackling common land claims where we have seen real progress. We look forward to a constructive and productive relationship going forward.
“Paul takes charge at a critical time in our view, inheriting a number of BPS implementation challenges including a backlog of correction cases from 2015 and 2016 and an expectation that payments for 2017 will better reflect what farmers have applied for.
"Additionally we have their agreed target to meet or exceed the payment levels reached for BPS 2016 - that being more than 91% of claims worth £1.4bn by the end of December. This is set against a backdrop of emerging thinking as to how our own agricultural policies following Brexit might be delivered ."
The NFU is currently carrying out its latest member facing BPS survey which we will comment on in detail in the coming weeks. Initial findings suggest that while BPS 2017 has run a lot more smoothly than its predecessors there are still a considerable number of overhanging issues from earlier years to sort out for the ten per cent of members. For those farmers affected this is no comfort as they head into a busy time of the year when farming work takes priority.