The BPS application window opened on 18 March for 2021 payments, as did the claim window for existing Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship revenue agreements. Farmers have until 17 May to apply.
It’s important for farmers to engage with this annual process as soon as possible as there is no mid-June deadline this year. Actions that can be taken now include:
- Making sure you can access the Rural Payment Agency’s (RPA) online Rural Payments Service
- Familiarising yourself with the online service and guidance available for 2021
- Checking contact details are up to date
- If you need assistance applying, it’s important to organise that support now, especially given the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in place
- The RPA encourage those that are able to claim using the online system to do so.
There is some helpful information on the RPA’s webpages, such as how to submit information to the RPA and in what format.
Creating a successful claim
NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw says: “We know this is a busy time of the year, and with future support schemes gaining attention it can be easy to forget about the application window for BPS. As this is such a critical income stream for many businesses, it is important to read the guidance the NFU has on offer to understand how certain rules will impact how the claim is completed this year. For example, farmers need to continue to accurately input land use to create a successful claim.
“It’s also important to remember if you have an agri-environment scheme, you must submit a claim form each and every year in order to be paid. The deadline is the same as for BPS
“If you need help, know someone that needs help, or are a helper, it is vital you start reaching out now as ongoing COVID-19 restrictions will need to be taken into account.
We're here to help
“The NFU is here to support its members in their applications via NFU CallFirst and supporting material online. We also have a number of BPS webinars lined up over the coming weeks to fully explain everything and ease any concerns.”