Landowners who have entitlements they want to trade under the current Single Payment Scheme (SPS), should do so now, an expert has advised.
James Bendle of H&H Land Property pointed out that landowners only have until October 21 to take action before the new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) starts in January.
No trading will be permitted between the October deadline and the start of the BPS, and although trading will resume from mid-January, running to April 2 next year, values under BPS are predicted to be significantly lower than at present.
Mr Bendle, who advises agricultural clients across the North East, said: “It is now known that those with less than 5ha of land will lose their entitlements under the BPS and those with surplus entitlements will also lose out to the national reserve at zero value after April next year.
“Now is the time to trade surplus entitlements if you don’t want to risk losing out.
“Currently, we have about 500 hectares of Moorland, Severely Disadvantaged Area (SDA) and Non-SDA entitlements to trade, with the amount changing daily.
“We expect demand to increase as the deadline approaches and we are looking for more entitlements to trade.
“It certainly is a buyers’ market.”
Under current prices, non-SDA entitlements are trading at £160+VAT per unit, while SDA is selling at £180+VAT per unit and Moorland at £60+VAT per unit.
Although the value of Moorland entitlements has increased by £5-£10 since the spring trading period, non-SDA values are down significantly.
Those who have bought land without entitlements cannot claim subsidy of any type for it.
Everyone registered to claim subsidy can trade entitlements and those held under SPS will automatically roll over into the new BPS scheme in January.
However, the rules have changed under the latest CAP reform and landowners are advised to make themselves aware of how this affects them.
Mr Bendle said: “Historically, any landowner could trade entitlements, including ‘slipper farmers’ – those that did not actually work the land.
“However, the regulations have changed and you now have to pass an active farmers test to be eligible to claim under BPS.”
The value of currently-held entitlements will also decrease over time because the duration of the entitlement itself is reducing, Mr Bendle warned.
“Now is clearly the time to sell if you have entitlements you do not need,” he added.
H&H Land and Property, which has an office in Durham and one in Carlisle, is offering advice to clients on the new regulations, helping them to sell surplus entitlements or find the ones they need in order to make subsidy claims.