Coronavirus: Our latest work for members on BPS

An image of a field with a BPS graphic

Updated: 15 June 2020

The NFU's BPS team continues to work on behalf of members. Various activity is ongoing to ensure that BPS and other schemes run as smoothly as possible at this time.

This includes:

BPS application process

  • Making sure that the BPS application process goes smoothly for both online and paper applicants, including clarifying the process of amending applications after the deadline has passed.
  • Ensuring there is support for those vulnerable or remotely based claimants with perhaps lower IT skill set.
  • Worked with RPA to ensure their communications are appropriate and timely and ensuring the recent June mailer covered the relevant topics.
  • Seeking understanding from RPA that the extension to the BPS deadline will not impact payment performance later this year.

Seeking flexibility

Flexibility and the postal service: Calls were made for the RPA to be as pragmatic as possible where items had been submitted by post in good time, but the due to out of control issues, the documents may not get to the RPA by the 15 June deadline.

Dry weather: The NFU has raised a number of Greening Ecological Focus Area (EFA), BPS and Countryside Stewardship questions with the RPA relating to the increasingly dry conditions out on farm and the growing concern over lack of forage or ability to establish crops.

Ongoing work

The NFU continues to work on a range of issues with the RPA and Defra and is in daily contact. Regarding the commencement of on-farm inspections, NFU needs to monitor the situation as it develops. Especially where inspectors need to speak to, or be guided by, farmers on farm or seeking records held in farm offices etc. NFU has also asked for the new protocols being used by the RPA to be shared so that others not yet inspected could understand the changes coming in as a result of the COVID-19 situation. 

The NFU will continue to follow the claims processing at all stages throughout the cycle to payment, ensuring that the RPA makes every effort to deliver prompt payments later this year.

RPA COVID-19 page at Gov.uk

The NFU has worked with the RPA to develop and refine the content of its COVID-19 web page for farmers, landowners and rural businesses at Gov.uk to ensure that this information source is updated on a regular basis and corral all the key information (be that new or confirmed) in one location. The NFU has continued to work with the RPA since this page first went live on 1 April, to refine and link it with other key related information. The NFU has urged members to keep referring to this webpage for the latest information.

Non-COVID-19 developments

We continue to seek clarification from Defra and to make a timely announcement on the greening rules for 2021. This is especially important regarding the crop diversification rule, as farmers need to know ASAP how many crops they need to drill for harvest 2021. We have raised a number of administrative simplifications that would benefit farmers whilst retaining EFA, for example. Defra is very aware of NFU desire that if there are to be changes, they are announced to the industry in good time  

We continue to work together with colleagues to seek clarity from RPA on the Farming Recovery Fund and the Dairy Response Fund.

Further new NFU BPS online content

More BPS related information can be found on NFUonline at our dedicated BPS channel. This includes:

Need help with BPS?

NFU members have access to NFU CallFirst to support completion of BPS claims by calling 0370 845 8458.

More from NFUonline:

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