If you have an agri-environment agreement and you cannot meet the agreement requirements due to adverse weather conditions, you must contact the RPA (Rural Payments Agency).
The RPA will review each individual agreement holder's circumstances on a case by case basis.
Requirements and timelines vary by scheme. We've outlined below the actions you need to take if you are in this situation.
You can find more advice about dealing with extreme heat at the Gov.uk website: Extreme heat advice for farmers and land managers
CS (Countryside Stewardship) and ES (Environmental Stewardship)
Minor and temporary adjustments – if you cannot meet the requirements of your agreement for a short time due to adverse weather conditions you can ask for an MTA (minor and temporary adjustment). For example, this might be due to hot and dry weather meaning grass is ripening too early or hay must be cut early.
To apply for an MTA, you will need to fill in the Minor and temporary adjustment form (Gov.uk). You must receive approval of the MTA before you make any changes.
Permanent changes and force majeure requests – if the impact is more serious, you could consider requesting force majeure. This is where you cannot meet scheme requirements due to exceptional and unforeseen circumstances outside your control. Again you should contact the RPA.
CS agreements from 2021 onwards
As the agreement holder, you must notify the RPA in writing within 8 weeks of such an event which prevents you from managing according to your agreement.
CS agreements up to and including 2020
As the agreement holder, you must notify the RPA in writing within 15 working days of being in a position to do so of such an event which prevents you from managing according to your agreement.
ES agreement holders must inform the RPA of a ‘force majeure’ situation in writing within 15 working days of being in a position to do so of the event. Once the RPA has received your MTA or ‘force majeure’ application, it will advise you of the next steps to take and any impact on your current claim.
More information on how to deal with difficulties arising from unusual weather affecting CS and ES agreements is available at: Gov.uk | Adverse weather conditions in England
SFI (Sustainable Farming Incentive) scheme
If you are taking part in either the SFI pilot or the SFI 2022 scheme, you will need to contact the RPA to notify it of any issues relating to the current adverse weather conditions, such as your subsequent inability to meet the terms of your agreement.
You will need to contact the RPA with specific details about the issues you are experiencing as per the ‘Reporting changes of circumstance’ section of the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot guidance.
As per the ‘Good reasons for a breach’ section of the Piloting the Sustainable Farming Incentive: monitoring guidance, you will need to notify the RPA within 8 weeks from when you are in a position to do so.
You will need to contact the RPA using the SFI query form (Gov.uk), with specific details of the issues you are experiencing. As per section 11.7 – ‘Good reasons for a breach’ of the Sustainable Farming Incentive: full guidance, there is an 8 week deadline to notify the RPA.