NFU drive aids Lancashire farmers with funding

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The number of farmers who have successfully registered for the new Basic Payment Scheme increased from 19 per cent to 27 per cent in a two week period after a NFU drive in Lancashire and Cumbria.

The Basic Payment Scheme is the means by which EU funding under the Common Agricultural Policy is distributed to UK farmers.

It replaced the Single Payment Scheme on January 1.

With many farmers having no digital footprint, the NFU knew problems would arise when the Rural Payments Agency stated its intention to roll out an entirely internet based system for the BPS application process.

Farmers were asked, as an individual, to register for the new system and check details online

In order to get through this process they needed various pieces of information relating to their finances which would then go through a formal verification process handled by a proprietary credit checking agency.

NFU North West Regional Director, Robert Sheasby, said: “In order to help members through this process, the NFU in the North West organised a series of meetings where we explained to farmers exactly what they needed to do to help this process run smoothly.

“NFU lobbying also resulted in the RPA setting up a telephone registration system for those unable to get online.

“This was a major victory for the union and one which should enable the vast majority of our members to easily register for the new payment scheme.”

In total the NFU held 20 BPS Help meetings in Cheshire, Cumbria and Lancashire between Febuary 2 and 16 – assisting 850 farmer and grower members.