Under the Omnibus Regulation all EU member states have the ability to drop the Active Farmer rule for the Basic Payment Scheme from 2018 onwards. The RPA has today confirmed that England has now dropped the Active Farmer rule for BPS this year. This removes a claimant’s need for the readmission routes or having to provide evidence (e.g. accountant’s certificate) of being an ‘Active Farmer’. It also means that certain claimants that were previously excluded (airports, railway services, waterworks, real estate services, permanent sports and recreation grounds and other owner/users of land) who had to sell their entitlements before the 2015 claim deadline will now be eligible to make a Basic Payment claim in 2018.

This has the potential to increase the number of BPS applications this year and also affect the entitlement trading market as previously excluded applicants will now return to the market creating a greater demand than supply.

This announcement has come too late for the RPA to be able to adjust their online system therefore although the Active Farmer rule is no longer active, applicants will still need to tick the Active Farmer box in order to be able to submit an application online. However they will now click the box stating “No – I qualify as an Active Farmer” rather than going through the further tests of qualification.