Rural Surveyor Robyn Harper explains a DEFRA Consultation inviting views on a proposal to make ‘lump sum’ payments to farmers retiring from the industry.
As part of the transition to a UK agricultural policy, a lump sum payment to retiring farmers is proposed in 2022 in place of taking any further direct payments over the transition period to 2027. DEFRA state that offering the payment early in the transition period allows for larger payments to farmers, as it will be a direct replacement of payments yet to be made. Opportunities for new entrants will also be available sooner.
Lack of finance can be a significant barrier to exit for some farmers and it is expected the payment will incentivise those considering retirement or leaving the industry. Allowing opportunities for the next generation of farmers will bring fresh ideas and innovation which in turn will benefit farm productivity.
To be eligible for the lump sum, BPS applicants would have to give up their land. This means owner/occupiers would be expected to sell or let their land (on a Farm Business Tenancy with a term of at least 5 years) and tenants would have to surrender their tenancies. A condition of the lump sum is that all BPS entitlements, including leased entitlements, will be cancelled so there will not be an opportunity to trade them.
DEFRA have now launched a consultation seeking opinions from anyone holding an interest in the future of farming. This could include anyone in receipt of BPS payments, people considering either exiting or entering the agricultural industry, and those who represent agricultural businesses.
The consultation seeks views on the eligibility criteria and how the value of the lump sum should be calculated.
Please follow this link if you wish to respond to the consultation. The consultation period ends at midnight on 11 August 2021.
Robyn Harper is a Rural Surveyor based in our Sturminster Office, specialising in a wide variety of Rural Professional Services. She can be contacted on 01258 472244.