Scottish BPS Entitlements User Guide

How do I claim BPS payments in Scotland?

To be eligible to claim payment under the Basic Payment Scheme a Scottish claimant must:

  • Qualify as an “Active Farmer” (see below for details on this classification);
  • Have at least 3ha of eligible agricultural land, which will belong to one of three categories (Region 1, 2 or 3 – see below);
  • Hold enough entitlements to match the eligible land they wish to claim on, which must be of the corresponding Region;
  • Be carrying out ‘agricultural activity’ on the land they wish to claim on (the definition of this varies between Region 1 and Regions 2 and 3 – see below);
  • Have the land at their disposal on the 15th of May in the year they wish to make a claim (or the next working day if this is a weekend);
  • Submit a Single Application Form (SAF) by the 15th of May deadline (or the next working day if this is a weekend);
  • Meet all Cross Compliance rules on your whole holding for the scheme year.

What needs to be done to qualify for the Greening Payment?

To be eligible for the Greening Payment (approximately 30% of the total payment), a claimant must comply with the greening rules for the whole scheme year, which are summarised as follows:

  • Farmers with 10 or more hectares of arable land (i.e. land cultivated for crop production, fallow land or temporary grassland) need to follow the crop diversification Greening rule.
  • Farmers with more than 15 hectares of arable land must follow the crop diversification and the Ecological Focus Area (EFA) Greening rules.
  • Farmers with less than 10 hectares of arable land don’t need to do anything differently – they are exempt from the crop diversification and EFA area rules.
  • Farmers with permanent grassland must follow the permanent grassland Greening rules.

BPS Payment Rates

From 2019 onward, all BPS entitlements in each region will be paid the same flat rate. The 2019 payment rates, including the Greening element, for each Region were:

  • Region 1: €244.39/ha
  • Region 2: €48.41/ha
  • Region 3: €14.48/ha

Until 2019, each payment made on each entitlement was composed of an element of the historic value and an element of the flat rate value, the proportion of the flat rate payment has gradually increased until it now makes up the whole payment.

Buying and selling entitlements and the National Reserve

All transfer applications are on paper PF23 forms and must be signed by both parties and submitted to the appropriate Regional Office by the 2nd April each year in order for the Transferee to be able to claim on those entitlements in that scheme year.

In order to claim BPS payments, a potential claimant must first acquire the appropriate entitlements for the land they wish to claim upon. Those that meet the criteria for the New Entrant and Young Farmer schemes (see below) are eligible to receive entitlements from the National Reserve. Those that do not meet the requirements for allocation of entitlements under these schemes must purchase entitlements privately. For more information on the entitlement trading market and for current prices and availability, please contact Alasdair Squires (email).

Receiving entitlements from the National Reserve

“New farmers” must be at least 18 years of age, must be in ‘control’ (have more than 50% of the shares and votes) of the farm business, their business must have started ‘agricultural activity’ in 2013 or later and they must not have carried out any farming in the previous 5 years (to when they started the agricultural activity) in their own right.

“New farmers” must make their first successful BPS application within 2 years of the calendar year in which the business started farming.

“Young farmers” must be between the age of 18 and 40, must be in ‘control’ of the farm business and must have set up or taken ‘control’ of the business for the first time less than 5 years before the scheme year in which they first applied for BPS payments.

In order to prove one’s status as a ‘new’ or ‘young’ farmer evidence of the above must be received by the RPID no later than the 15th of May.

How do I buy entitlements?

If you are looking to buy Scottish entitlements please see our Buyer’s Guide here, and a list of some available entitlements here.

How do I sell entitlements?

If you are looking to sell Scottish entitlements please see our Seller’s Guide here, and a list of some wanted entitlements here.

Qualifying as an “Active Farmer”

The Scottish Government have now confirmed that the ‘Negative List’ test is to no longer form a part of the BPS regulations from 2018. This means that those who were previously excluded from claiming BPS payments may now be eligible, provided they satisfy the remaining criteria.

To qualify as an “active farmer”, claimants must meet the legal definition of a “farmer”, and must be carrying out an agricultural activity on the land they wish to claim upon.

Payment Regions and agricultural activity

All land in Scotland is classified as belonging to one of three Regions:

  • Region 1 (better quality agricultural land);
  • Region 2 (rough grazing);
  • Region 3 (rough grazing in LFA Grazing Category A).

To qualify as eligible, Region 1 land must be used for an agricultural activity such as the growing of agricultural products, rearing and breeding animals and harvesting crops. Where land is not used for agricultural production, it must be actively maintained in a state suitable for grazing or cultivation. This might include, among other things, maintaining stock-proof fencing on pasture land or taking action to control injurious weeds.

Farmers claiming BPS payments on land in Regions 2 and 3 must meet minimum stocking guidelines. In normal circumstance this is a stocking rate of 0.05 livestock units per hectare on all hectares for at least 183 days in each scheme year, which must be justified by evidence. Alternatively, claimants can carry out an annual Environmental Assessment (EA) across the holding.

Still have some questions or queries?

Email or ring us on 01392 823935.




Alasdair Squires

Alasdair Squires

01392 823935