The Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is Europe’s largest grants and payment system supporting the farming industry. The deadline for BPS 2016 applications will be on the 16th of May, and this year, farmers in England will be able to submit their applications to the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) online, through GOV.UK Verify!
In the UK, farmers and landowners with at least five hectares of agricultural land and at least five ‘entitlements' can apply for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), which pays eligible farmers and rural businesses to protect and enhance the countryside. These payments are linked to the area of land that you manage and whether this area meets the Cross Compliance requirements.
For BPS 2016, submitting your application online through GOV.UK Verify is available if you’re in England (it is not currently available if you manage land in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales).
First things first - if you’re new to rural payments and haven’t previously registered, you should read the BPS rules for 2016. This document will tell you about what you can do with your online account in addition to submitting your BPS application and other key dates for 2016. It also includes information about being an ‘active farmer’, updates to the Greening rules, and how new and young famers can apply for entitlements.
Before you can submit your application online, you’ll first need to register and verify your identity through GOV.UK Verify, which is the Government's public portal where you can access government services online. When you register with GOV.UK Verify, you'll need to have your identity checked by a certified identity verification company, like CitizenSafe, so that the Government know that you are who you say you are, and not someone else trying to impersonate you. This means that your personal information will be kept secure online.
Read our “Guide to claiming rural payments online” for step-by-step details to get set up online.
After verifying your identity, you’ll be able to login to your Rural Payments account. If you’re a new user, you’ll need to register your personal and business details, after which the RPA will give you a customer registration number (CRN), as well as one or more of the following unique business reference numbers, depending on the nature of your business: Single Business Identifier (SBI), Trade Registration Number (TRN), or Vendor Registration Number (VRN).
If you need to update your rights for common land, you will need to do so before applying – this service will be available online from April.
When applying online with the rural payments service, your application will already be pre-filled with the information already held about your business and you’ll need to carry out the 4 C’s – Check, Change, Complete, and Confirm.
You can contact the RPA via their helpline on 03000 200 301 Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org