Farm Payments – What does the future hold?
What does the future hold with regards to farm subsidies? An answer to which we unfortunately do not know in detail but by the time you are reading this, we may have some more political certainty as to who will be controlling farm subsidies going forward.
In 2019, the Basic Payment Scheme and Countryside Stewardship applications did not change in great detail compared to previous years with the Countryside Stewardship application process actually being slightly easier in that the supporting evidence was not all required at the time of the application but will still be needed as part of the claims. We saw the second round of the Countryside Productivity Small Grant Scheme and throughout the year there have been numerous talks as to what will happen going forward.
One aspect of existing Countryside Stewardship that has changed is the timing of payments, with the Rural Payments Agency now making one annual payment for the management options rather than two which will hopefully ensure these payments are made in a more timely manner. By the time this newsletter hits your kitchen table, the exchange rate will have been set for the Basic Payment Scheme for 2019 and we hope BPS payments will be made in a timely manner from the 1st December 2019.
At the current time, we envisage the Basic Payment Scheme and Countryside Stewardship being the same in 2020 as what it was in 2019. From 2021 onwards the phasing out of BPS up to 2028 is likely to start with different pilots and trials taking place for the new Environmental Land Management Scheme at the same time. It is likely a simplified version of Countryside Stewardship could be available next year we understand from 2025 onwards there will be no Countryside Stewardship available and the role out of the new Environmental Land Management Scheme will take place.
We often get asked as to whether it is worth applying for a Countryside Stewardship agreement now or waiting until a new version comes out, unfortunately we do not have a clear answer but in our opinion, we feel there is more money available now whilst we are still in the EU than there is likely to be with any new schemes. I would advise looking at the Countryside Stewardship agreements that are currently available and if they suit your farm and you can benefit from some capital works, apply. If you are in an agreement you are guaranteed those payments for the five years and this should take you forward to a year where we should have clear guidance as to what new Environmental Land Management Schemes are available.
Please do not hesitate to contact the Kivells team if you have any particular questions on the future of subsidies. Whilst we do not have a crystal ball to predict the future, we can offer advice on what could be best for your farm.
There are still many unknowns with the Basic Payment Scheme, Countryside Stewardship and ELMS but it is looking to be very much environmental based going forward.
We will of course keep you updated on anything further but if you do have any questions or if you would like any help with this year’s Basic Payment Scheme or Countryside Stewardship application, please do not hesitate to contact one of the Kivells Professional teams.
Claire Quick BSc (Hons) MRICS FAAV
Rural Chartered Surveyor