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Applicants for the new CAP schemes are likely to need to use the CAP Information Service. The service will replace some of the systems that are used to apply for the current CAP schemes, such as SPS Online and ELS Online.
The service has been designed to be easy to use and has help on every screen. It will also have a helpline to call for information about the service, or if you need help to use it.
The previous systems for SPS Online or CTS Online were accessed through the Government Gateway. The Government Gateway is gradually being replaced across all online government services and the new CAP Information Service will be accessed through the GOV.UK website. Details of how to log in to GOV.UK will be sent to initial applicants when they are sent the invitation to use the new CAP Information Service.
The new online service will be introduced gradually and applicants will be advised when it is ready for their use.
To be in the best position to apply for CAP schemes and payments in 2015, log in and register as soon as you are contacted. All applicants will need to register, even if they are using an agent, colleague or friend to help with the application.
A small number of farmers will be invited to use the service from late summer onwards, so that the system can be tested and we can get feedback from people using it. Those applicants not in this small test group will be able to get onto the CAP Information Service towards the end of this year.
The benefits of the CAP Information Service:
• You can use it for your CAP claims.
• You’ll see maps and aerial photos of your land and be able to map features and land cover online – avoiding the need to ask for maps to be sent to you.
• You can manage your personal and business details online.
• You can give permission to others to use the service on your behalf.
• You can manage your entitlements and transfer them online.
• It’ll remember your details. So, once you’ve entered them, you only have to make sure you keep them up-to-date.
• You’ll be able to check if you’re meeting the greening rules.
• You’ll also be able to check if you can get the young farmer payment or entitlements from the national reserve (if applicable).
Keep your details up to date The details on the CAP Information Service can be updated throughout the year, so when it’s time to make a claim, the relevant details will be ready.
Extra help Some applicants might not have used online services before, so there will be extra help available for those who need it.
Everyone who hasn’t applied online before will receive a form called ‘Extra help to use the CAP Information Service’, which should be filled in by anyone who thinks they might need extra help. Once the form has been returned, the RPA will get in touch to discuss the options for help that are available for each applicant.
This section will explain what applicants need to do to meet the greening rules from 2015 onwards. Greening rules will need to be followed beyond 2015, so each business will need to work out what they need to do for greening every year. Farmers can grow different crops or use different Ecological Focus Area features and areas each year to meet the rules.
If you make a Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) claim, the greening rules are compulsory.
Applicants that don’t follow them will lose some – or all – of their greening payment.
The amount lost will depend on the level of non-compliance. In 2015, the maximum amount a farmer could lose if they don’t follow the rules is 30% of their total payment.
Farms are also more likely to be inspected if it is found that the farmer is not following the greening rules.
Farmers that have an agri-environment scheme agreement and apply for BPS will still have to follow the greening rules.
Livestock farmers with temporary grassland still have to follow the crop diversification and Ecological Focus Area rules (unless they qualify for an exemption) – because temporary grassland counts as arable land under the BPS.
Farmers need to work out what they’ve got to do for greening based on all of the eligible agricultural land that is ‘at their disposal’ as part of their holding (even if the BPS isn’t claimed on all of it). A definition of ‘holding’ is on page 12 and there is more information on ‘land at your disposal’ on page 49 of the ‘Single Payment Scheme Handbook for England 2013’ (which is available on GOV.UK). There is no need to consider land in each BPS region separately for the purposes of greening.
Farmers that meet the greening rules will receive the greening payment for all of the land that entitlements have been activated against in their BPS application. This may be less than the land that they have to meet the greening rules on, particularly if a business has more eligible land than entitlements.
The greening rules
There will be 3 greening rules:
1. Permanent grassland: Most farmers won’t need to do anything differently to meet
the permanent grassland rule. There are two parts to this rule:
• If the percentage of permanent grassland in England – compared to the area of agricultural land – falls by more than 5%, farmers who have ploughed permanent grassland may have to re-instate it. It would also mean that there would be restrictions on any further ploughing of permanent grassland.
If the percentage does fall, the RPA will let farmers know if they need to do anything differently.
• If a farmer has areas of permanent grassland which are covered by the Wild Birds and/or Habitats Directives (Natura 2000), this can’t be ploughed up. The
area covered by these rules can be checked on the Natural England website at:
Page 14 explains what counts as permanent grassland.
2. Crop diversification: this has also been called the ‘2 or 3 crop rule’. If a farmer has 10 or more hectares of arable land, they will have to follow the crop diversification rules on the minimum number of crops they grow and the areas they cover – unless they qualify for an exemption. Exemptions are covered on page 18.
3. Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs): if a farmer has more than 15 hectares of arable land, they will need ‘Ecological Focus Areas’ on their arable land – unless they qualify for an exemption. Ecological Focus Areas are areas and/or features which the EU has decided are beneficial for the climate and the environment.
If a farm does need Ecological Focus Areas, the areas and features used must be equivalent to at least 5% of the total arable land the farmer declares on their BPS application. A list of the areas and features that can count as EFAs is on page 28.
The rest of this section of the leaflet will set out what farmers need to do to meet the crop diversification and Ecological Focus Area rules. The sections of this guidance that apply will depend on the circumstances of each farm. As temporary grassland is considered to be arable land (see ‘Definitions’ on page 12), these rules may also apply to farmers of
mixed farms. The next section is made up of the following headings:
Definitions (page 12) How each type of land is defined and how to calculate how much land on a holding will be defined as ‘arable’ in 2015.
Who the rules apply to (page 17) What each farmer will need to do to meet the crop diversification and Ecological Focus Area rules in 2015 will depend on how much arable land they will have. The table in this section sets out who the rules apply to.
Exemptions (page 18) This section explains the exemptions from the crop diversification and Ecological Focus Area rules.
Crop diversification: the rules (page 22) This section sets out what farmers can grow in order to meet the crop diversification rules.
Ecological Focus Areas: the rules (page 28) This section explains what can count as part of an EFA and how farmers can work out if they have an EFA that is the equivalent to at least 5% of the total arable land that they declare on their BPS application in 2015.
Organic land Any land which is certified as organic (including land ‘in conversion’) will qualify for the greening payment automatically – as long as it’s been certified by an accredited body.
More information will be provided in October on what farmers who have organic and non-organic land need to do to meet the greening rules on their non-organic land.
Step 1 Definitionsknow what types of land you have and work out Make sure you how much of your land will be ‘arable’ in 2015
Eligible agricultural area This is the agricultural area that will be eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme. The amount of land that is eligible will be one of the things that will determine whether or not farmers
qualify for an exemption from the greening rules. Eligible agricultural area is made up of:
• arable land
• permanent grassland
• permanent crops Arable land The amount of arable land that each farmer has in 2015 will determine what they need to do for their crop diversification and Ecological Focus Areas.
For the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), arable land is:
• land cultivated for crop production – including land used for combinable crops, crops grown for fibre, root crops, crops grown for animal feed such as forage maize and forage rape, field vegetables, cut flowers or bulbs and soft fruit (other than permanent crops). This includes where these crops are grown under greenhouses, or under cover, on soil or grass
• fallow land (see page 13 for more information)
• temporary grassland (see page 13 for more information) Permanent crops are not arable land but they are still eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme. There’s more information on permanent crops on page 14.
Fallow land Fallow land is land that has no crop production or grazing on it (this means it can’t have a land use of permanent crops or permanent grassland).
This land must be maintained in a state which makes it suitable for grazing or cultivation. More information about what this means in practice will be published in November.
To count as fallow land for the purposes of the crop diversification rules, land must be kept fallow throughout the inspection period of 1 May to 30 June. If the fallow land is also being counted towards the Ecological Focus Area rules, then the period of time is longer, as described on page 31.
Temporary grassland (including herbaceous forage) The amount of temporary grassland each farmer has will count towards the amount of arable land they will have in 2015.
Temporary grassland is land that has been in grass or other herbaceous forage for less than 5 years.
Herbaceous forage is any herbaceous plant traditionally found in natural pastures or normally included in mixtures of seeds for pastures or meadows in the UK.
These mixtures can include Lucerne, Sainfoin, forage vetches and clovers. But not
any of the following fodder crops – they count as arable crops:
• fodder rape or any other forage Brassicas
• fodder root crops
• forage maize
• any other cereals grown for silage or for any other form of forage Land used for livestock production that is not sown with another crop should be counted as temporary grassland – if it’s been used for less than 5 years. If it’s been used for 5 years or more, then it should be counted as permanent grassland. For example, if a farmer has pigs on stubble, this should be declared as temporary grassland on their BPS application. This land will still need to be kept so that it’s meeting the cross compliance rules.
Permanent grassland Farmers will need to work out the amount of permanent grassland they have as this will count towards the eligible agricultural area they have in 2015. Knowing the amount of permanent grassland will also make it easier to determine if a farmer qualifies for any of the greening exemptions.
Permanent grassland is land that has been used to grow grasses or other herbaceous forage (that has not been included in the crop rotation of the holding) for 5 years or more.
It can be self-seeded or sown.
If the land has been re-sown with grass or other herbaceous forage during the past 5 years, it is still permanent grassland.
If land has been entered as grass or herbaceous forage on 6 consecutive SPS/BPS applications, it must be recorded as permanent grassland on the sixth application. This is compulsory, unless it’s been used to grow a catch crop in the time between applications – in which case it will be classed as temporary grassland.
The new CAP Information Service will show whole land parcels that have been declared as temporary grass on six or more SPS/BPS applications as permanent grassland.
Land parcels that contain trees A land parcel that meets the definition of permanent grassland but contains scattered
trees will still be classed as permanent grassland if:
• agricultural activities can be carried out in a similar way as on parcels in the same area without trees, and
• it does not contain more than 100 trees per hectare Permanent crops Permanent crops are crops that occupy the land for 5 years or more (other than permanent grassland) and provide repeated harvests. This includes short rotation coppice, nursery crops and multi-annual crops.
Permanent crops will be eligible under BPS. The area of permanent crops a business has will also count towards their eligible agricultural area in 2015. Land covered by permanent crops does not have to follow the greening rules, but the greening payment will be worked out using all the land that entitlements are activated against, including land used for permanent crops.
Other fruits under the genus ‘Vaccinium’ are also permanent crops Nursery crops Nursery crops are areas of young woody plants grown in the open air, on soil in