This gives further detail on various issues of the forthcoming Basic Payment Scheme.

The principal concern of late has been the definition of ‘active farmer’ and the treatment of farm businesses where they have off site property investment and rental income. This has been causing considerable consternation in the industry as entirely valid and in some cases substantial farming businesses might have been caught by this proposal, particularly where they have diversified. In the latest release the RPA have stated that any farmer who farms more than 36 hectares of eligible land will be able to claim the Basic Payment as an active farmer irrespective of any other activity.

Andrew Bays of BCM, specialists in rural property operating throughout southern England, states: “This will come as an enormous relief to farmers and estate owners who were beginning to get extremely concerned about the potential classification of their businesses as not being active farmers. This announcement greatly simplifies the issue and is entirely fair as it makes clear that bona fide farming businesses over the size limit can continue to claim the Basic Payment irrespective of their other activities.”