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UK - Experts welcome financial boost for young farmers

Agricultural specialists have welcomed a potential financial boost for young farmers arising from Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms.

The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) will this month start issuing on how new and young farmers could qualify for new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) entitlements, along with details of top-up payment worth up to 25 per cent of the average value of entitlements for young farmers.

Up to three per cent of the total BPS budget has been earmarked to create entitlements for new farmers and young farmers, if they currently have more land than entitlements.

The Rural Payments Agency will allocate the entitlements according to the amount of eligible land farmers declare on their 2015 Basic Payment Scheme application and their existing entitlements.

A further two per cent of the BPS budget will be fund extra money for young farmers who have taken control of their farm in the last five years.

John Thame, who leads the agriculture and property team at Banbury and Wellingborough-based Ellacotts LLP, and who chairs the UK200Group’s agriculture special interest group, said: “In any business, the early years can be particularly challenging so the extra CAP support offered to new and young farmers at this crucial stage is welcome.

“It is vital to the future of UK agriculture that it attracts new generations of talented, entrepreneurial people who can see the opportunities farming offers as a long-term career, so this approach is definitely a step in the right direction.

“Having access to the right advice can also make a significant difference to new and developing farm businesses, so working with professional advisers experienced in the agricultural sector is a sensible step to help maximise the value of CAP payments and the efficiency of wider farm finances.”

The latest leaflet, which will also be posted to farmers in this month, includes information for new and young farmers. It explains how they could be eligible for new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) entitlements from the ‘national reserve’, and young farmers can also find out whether they are eligible to claim a top-up payment worth up to 25 per cent of the average value of their entitlements.

Farming Minister George Eustice said: "This latest leaflet contains key information for new and young farmers about new support they will be able to access at the point their career needs it the most.

"If we are to see this industry continue to thrive, it’s vital that we encourage the brightest and best new talent into farming.

RPA External Relations Director Arik Dondi: "We have promised to make information available at each step of the countdown to the new CAP to help people understand how it will affect them and this leaflet includes vital information which farmers need to know now.

"It is part of our commitment to keep customers informed as and when more detail is known."

Up to three per cent of the total Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) budget, part of England’s budget under the Common Agricultural Policy, has been earmarked to create entitlements for new farmers and young farmers, if they currently have more land than entitlements.

The new entitlements for young farmers will be generated from the National Reserve. The RPA will allocate these entitlements according to the amount of eligible land farmers declare on their 2015 Basic Payment Scheme application and how many entitlements they already have.

A further two per cent of the BPS budget will be used to give extra money to young farmers if they have taken control of their farm in the last five years.

Most existing Single Payment Scheme (SPS) customers will qualify for BPS, but some operating certain non-agricultural businesses will not be eligible. The leaflet provides further detail around the ‘active farmer’ requirements of the scheme and definitions of those who may not be eligible.

Read the original full article published on Farming UK.