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Country News - 2005

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Deadline near for farm hardship grants

Thursday 13 January 2005

FARMERS who work particularly difficult land - which includes many hill farms in the Yorkshire Dales - are being warned that they only have until the end of this month to apply for special hardship grants.

Under the complex rules of the new single payment scheme, part of the reforms to the notorious EU Common Agricultural Policy, they must apply by for the extra grant by January 31 or miss out.

The new single payment, linked to various environmental conditions, is initially largely based on a farmer's historical subsidy record in the three years between 2000 and 2002.

But some farmers may be entitled to more in certain cases of hardship or exceptional and unforeseeable events, provided they apply before the end of this month.

Applications to the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) can be made on the basis of reduced production under agri-environment schemes during the reference period which resulted in the amounts being lower than they would have been.

Land taken out of production because of intervention by a statutory authority, like the laying of a pipeline, or through other exceptional circumstances may also lead to an adjustment of the payment, says the Country Land and Business Association.

The application for amendment of the reference years can be made on the RPA's form SP2, or for advice contact the RPA Customer Service Centre on 0845 6018045.


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