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The Simple Guide to Single Farm Payments
The Single Farm Payment (SFP) Scheme came into force on 1st January 2005. It is now the main agricultural subsidy scheme in the EU replacing most of the individual Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidy payments previously made to farmers.

Who is eligible?

·      You must be a farmer undertaking agricultural activity.

·      You must hold SFP entitlements and have eligible agricultural land.

·      Any individual field you declare to activate SFP entitlements must be at least 0.1 hectares.

·      If you have Special Entitlements you can activate these without any land but you must satisfy the required level of agricultural activity.

·      The land on which you claim payment must be at your disposal on 15th May in the year of the claim. You will probably be the landowner and farm the land so taking full responsibility for managing the land.

Landowners and tenants should agree the precise terms of land letting arrangements and who has the right to claim payment on individual fields before they submit the application.

If the landowner has leased the land to another farm business, it is unlikely the landowner can retain sufficient control of the land to claim SFP.

If you lease the land you must check if the landowner is claiming SFP on this land.

·      Check whether the landowner will allow you to use the land to claim SFP.

·      Make sure you get the most up to date map from the landowner.

·      Make sure that the previous tenant is not claiming SFP on this land.

To receive SFP you must submit a Single Application Form (SAF1) on or before 15th May each year.

There are two types of Single Farm Payments.

Standard Entitlements

To claim standard entitlements you must have an equal number of eligible hectares at your disposal on 15th May in the Scheme year. This land must remain in an eligible use for the entire calendar year, except in cases of exceptional circumstances.

Special Entitlements

To activate all of your special entitlements you must maintain a certain level of agricultural activity. Payment will not be agreed until the level of Livestock Unit activity has been met for the Scheme year.

What type of land is eligible?

Land eligible for the SFP Scheme include:

·      Normal arable or combinable crops, including protein crops and hemp

·      Potatoes, sugar beet and other root crops

·      Forage maize and forage rape

·      Wild bird cover

·      Fruit, including permanent fruit (such as top fruit and nuts) and strawberries

·      Vegetables (including permanent vegetables)

·      Vines

Land grazed by horses

You can claim payment on land which you use mainly for grazing but which you occasionally use for non-agricultural purposes (for example, an annual gymkhana).

However, areas of land used by horses or other activities, such as a ménage, and land used for non-agricultural purposes, such as racecourses, gallops or as a show jumping arena are not eligible. This includes the land in the centre of a racecourse.

Grazed woodlands

Parcels of grazed woodland with less than 50 trees per hectare are eligible to claim SFP.

New woodland that is grazed may also be eligible, provided that the trees are adequately protected from grazing.

If claiming land as grazed woodland you must make appropriate allowances for the area taken up by the trees. In these cases, deductions must be made in respect of areas within an agricultural parcel where trees or bushes are preventing the growth of vegetation suitable for grazing.

Land not eligible for SFP

Land in non-agricultural use

·      Buildings and yards

·      Gardens

·      Roads

·      Laneways

·      Hard standing

·      Slurry sites

·      Golf courses

·      Race tracks, gallops

·      Ponds, streams, rivers, lakes

·      Rocky outcrops

Woodland, which is not grazed. This includes land classified under an Agri-environment scheme such as:

o   WAE ungrazed mixed ash woodland

o   WWE ungrazed wet woodland

o   WOE ungrazed oak woodland

o   Woodland with more than 50 trees per hectare

o   Woodland planted under the terms of a Woodland Grant Scheme, Farm Woodland Premium Scheme or Agri-Environment scheme option

o   Christmas trees

There are some exceptions when woodland may be eligible.

·      Dense patches of scrub, whin, bushes in fields

o   If there are dense patches of scrub, whin, bushes in a field which total 100 square metres or more you need to deduct these from your claimed area.

·      Walls, hedges, ditches, drains and agricultural features more than 4m wide at the bases (2m if internal to the field).

·      Bogs, swamps, reed-beds, fens

Activities allowed

·      Walking, bird-watching, school or university nature or farm visits are permitted.

·      Horse riding along bridleways meaning any unsurfaced highway or route for which riding is allowed or for which a right of way on horseback exists.

Paths or bridleways that are metalled or surfaced would not be eligible for SFP.

·      Bicycle riding along defined paths or bridleways.

·      Fishing.

·      Hedge-laying competitions, local ploughing competitions or other cultivation demonstrations within the applicable GAEC rules. This excludes events where trade stands are present.

·      Game shooting

·      Deer stalking

·      Drag hunting

·      Paragliding and hang-gliding

Restricted activities (28 day limit)

·      Clay shooting

·      Car boot sales

·      Car parking (whether or not it is associated with any of the activities listed)

·      Country fairs and shows

·      Equestrian activities (except those described above)

·      Ballooning

·      Festivals and events

·      Scout or guide camps or similar

·      TV and film locations

·      Caravan sites

·      Motor sports

Land used by the Ministry of Defence for military training is considered in the national interest and will not affect the right to claim SFP.

For more detailed information please visit DEFRA



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