Spring in the Air!

This time of year now that spring has arrived is my favourite time of year. It is also one of the busiest times of the year in the farming calendar.

Whilst the countryside comes alive and farmers are busy tending to stock and crops, this corresponds with the time of year for submission of annual claims for Basic Payment Scheme, Entry Level/Higher Level stewardship and Countryside Stewardship annual claims. For some reason the deadline for these has always been around 15th May and preparation of such corresponding with one of the busiest times of the year on a farm.

As you have read in the press previously the introduction of the Basic Payment scheme in 2015 was a shambles from day one with the first year of this reverting to paper forms. The 2016 application eventually being an on line exercise which proved to be better and in 2017 now also on line exercise. This year’s application period for the Basic Payment Scheme is now open, however we have already been hit by down time due to IT issues with the RPA, mapping issues, etc.

Unfortunately, as agents we have seen it all before and it is no surprise that there are issues once again. However we are prepared for this and always endeavour to put the hours in on behalf of clients during their busy time to make sure all of their claims are submitted within the time frame.

This time of the year is also when a lot of other grant schemes open, once again coinciding with farming’s busy time of the year. The most recent deadline being 28th April for the Hedgerow Boundary Grant. The Countryside Stewardship scheme is also now open for applications with the deadline of 30th September. The Countryside Stewardship scheme has been hit by delays once again due to IT issues with last year’s applicants only now receiving their agreement offers for agreements to start on 1st January 2017. I am also aware that many farmers’ payments having been late this year. Hopefully, as this is the third year of the scheme, then the processes will be quicker this year and we will keep our clients informed.

Things can only get better! You can be assured that during your busy time of the year we will have everything in hand to make sure all deadlines are met and our clients are made aware of all grant opportunities.