At SWFC, we have always understood that BPS and CSS claims that had to be made by 15 May each year related to a scheme year that runs from 1 January to 31 December
Our understanding would appear to be supported by the Rural Payments Agency’s own key dates document. (Click here)
On this basis, organic farmers who took advantage of the greening exemption (in previous years) or who had organic options under Countryside Stewardship had to provide an organic certificate that covered at least eight months of the scheme year.
For some of our clients with organic certificates that (for example) run from July to July, this meant one certificate was submitted to RPA with the claim, and that a new certificate was submitted when it was issued later in the year. Those lucky enough to have certificates that ran from January to December were always fine.
This year, however, we’ve received an email (that we expect to be the first of many) saying that an organic certificate that runs from January to December is NOT sufficient, as the claim year apparently now runs from 15 May one year to 14 May the next.
We have urgently queried this and, so far, have been told that this is NOT a change and this is the correct position — despite the apparent contradiction with the RPA key dates document.
Has anyone else run into this issue? If so, please get in touch!