Shropshire Farming Talk: Hopeful new environmental-based subsidies will reward farmers
As the dust settles on the last Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) application window, it dawned on me how many years I have been assisting farmers with their annual submissions.
I first submitted a Single Payment Scheme (now BPS) application in March 2007 and have now completed 17 years of submissions.
That is a total of approximately 3,500 forms with a total subsidy value in excess of £70 million!
Not bad when you consider it is only a small part of my job.
Inevitably, each year has posed different problems, whether it be rule changes such as the three crop rule, general mapping alterations or wholescale Rural Payment Agency computer updates.
It has given me great pride to assist farmers each year, guiding them through the minefield of rural grants and trying to anticipate what will come next.
Sitting around the farm kitchen table each year also gives me an invaluable opportunity to discuss the broader subject of farming and offer a wide variety of advice on individual farming enterprises.
Commodity prices, and what drives the changes, are a regular hot topic with my farming clients and many want to discuss other business conundrums, whether that be a partnership split or expansion of the existing enterprises.
I, for one, am hopeful that the new environmental based subsidies will reward farmers for the environmental, animal health and welfare and/or soil benefits that they provide.
I also hope it will continue to allow me the opportunity to meet my clients in their natural environment to discuss their enterprises and the farming industry in general.
There is nearly always a cup of tea and a delicious piece of home made cake!
Dan Bowden BSc(Hons) RICS, FAAV is a Partner with Barbers Rural