Farmers to See BPS Income Rise for the First Time in Five Years
Farmers are set to receive an increase in their 2016 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payment due to the exchange rate being set at €1 = £0.85228.
The 2016 exchange rate sees an increase of 16.5%, compared to last year’s exchange rate of €1 = £0.73129, making it the most favourable rate since 2011. This year’s BPS payment window opens on 1st December and farmers will be hoping for a smoother and swifter payment than 2015.
David Hume, a farm business consultant at land, property and business consultancy George F. White said: “This news will be a welcome relief for farmers as farm incomes have been under severe pressure over the past 18 months. In simple terms, it means that lowland and upland farmers will see an increase in their area payment of around £12/acre extra than 2015, and those with moorland seeing an extra £3/acre. An 800 acre lowland farm, for example, will see around an extra £9,600 which could be equivalent to an extra 80t of wheat. A hill farm with 500 acres of moorland will see an increase of around £1,500, equivalent to selling another 20-30 lambs.”
The news will also help ease the frustration of many farmers who have not yet received their full 2015 BPS payment due to incorrect penalties and miscalculations made by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). The RPA started making ‘top up’ payments at the beginning of September to those farmers who had informed them of an incorrect 2015 payment.
David added: “Top up payments from the RPA will be paid into bank accounts without any prior notification and before a remittance advice or second claim statement is received. It is vital that these amounts are cross checked against what farmers expected to receive as even some of these top up payments have been incorrect. What has added to the confusion is that the RPA have also started making reimbursements for the Financial Discipline Mechanism (FDM) relating to the 2014 payment. It is also worth getting this payment cross checked too.”
FDM reimbursements have been calculated based on 1.3% of a farmers 2015 BPS payment, therefore those with incorrect payments may not have been reimbursed the full amount. For those farmers wishing to understand what they might be paid for 2016 or to cross check their 2015 payment, George F White has developed a ‘BPS calculator’. To find out more, please contact David Hume on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01665 511986.