MORE than 6,000 Single Payment Scheme (SPS) claimants in Devon have applied online in 2014, according to figures from the Rural Payment Agency (RPA).
Final figures for SPS 2014, which closed on June 9, show 6,266 claimants applied digitally for their SPS payment this year – more than 68 per cent of the county’s 9,203 applicants.
Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) changes due to come into force next year include a new EU farm payments scheme, the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), and the introduction of a new online system CAP Information Service (CAPIS).
Customer Services Director for the RPA, Justin Chamberlain said: “We have worked hard to support business and personal customers to move online as part of our commitment to reducing costs and improving service by offering more and better digital options.
“This is a fantastic result which leaves thousands more farm businesses better prepared for the changes coming in in 2015, including the new online service.
“In support of government ambitions to encourage digital take-up, we will continue to work closely with customers and stakeholders to further improve our online services.
“We will be helping people to understand how the new CAP will affect them, what they need to do and by when in order to move as smoothly as possible to the new schemes and IT service.”
Defra, together with the RPA, Natural England and the Forestry Commission, has recently issued a new leaflet. When read with the latest policy announcements, it will give farmers the most up-to-date available information on new ‘greening’ rules, which are part of the CAP changes.