A series of detailed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) briefings, focusing on the implementation of the new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), are being planned by the NFU in the North East.
The first three will take place in October, with more following in November.
Farmers attending the briefings will receive an in-depth presentation from the NFU’s national BPS adviser Richard Wordsworth, outlining key elements of the new scheme, as well as so-called ‘greening’ measures and the Government’s new IT roll-out.
An initial meeting will take place at Bowburn Hall Hotel in Durham on October 8, beginning at 2pm. A meeting is also scheduled for 7.30pm on the same date at Malton Rugby Club on Old Malton Road.
The next day then, a session will be held at The Kyte in Darrington, beginning at 7pm. In November, a further round of meetings are planned for York, Willington, Ponteland, Skipton, Thirsk and Stokesley.
In addition, the NFU is responding to farmers’ concerns about the requirement that all BPS claims be submitted electronically.
“For more remote areas with poor broadband access, this could prove challenging,” said regional director Richard Pearson. “Not only because of the poor broadband availability, but also because, as a result, farmers in those areas have little experience of using online systems.”
Hence, the NFU is planning to offer farmers the opportunity to attend online clinics, where laptops and free broadband will be available.
Tutors will also be on hand to talk participants through the process of registering with the Rural Payments Agency.
“We are not sure how many of our members may want to use this facility, so would like to hear from anyone interested. This will help us plan where best to stage our workshops,” added Mr Pearson.
“All in all, adapting to the latest round of CAP reform will be a challenge for local farmers – not least because the fine detail of what they will be required to do is emerging very late in the day.
“Our focus now is on helping to make the transition as painless as possible and provide one-to-one advice and guidance where needed. Anyone struggling to get to grips with the new scheme should get in touch with their NFU County Advisor as soon as possible.”
NFU members wishing to participate in any of the October meetings or to register their interest in an IT workshop should contact the NFU Regional Office on 01904 451550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.