Flexible ‘ten month rule’ for farm payments

by 5m Editor
20 May 2004, at 12:00am

SCOTLAND - Farming ministers across the UK agreed today to further flexibility in the operation of the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments.

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From next year, Scottish farmers and crofters will receive a new Single Farm Payment based, in most cases, on their level of farming activity during 2000-2002.

Under ‘the ten month rule’, land against which farmers claim a payment must be at their disposal for at least 10 months each year.

The European Commission agreed the use of various alternatives in setting start dates in the application of this rule.

Ministers have now decided to allow farmers to set their own start date between October 1, 2004 and April 30, 2005. For farmers who do not state a preference, the start date will be set at February 1, 2005.

Minister for Environment and Rural Development, Ross Finnie said:

“In taking forward reform of the Common Agricultural Policy our objective has been to secure the flexibility required to allow farmers the freedom to farm.

“We have had discussions with a range of interested parties and the October to end April window should accommodate the wide range of farming practices in different parts of Scotland.

“Our approach reflects the clear preference of farmers to have as much flexibility in setting the start date for their ten month period as can be allowed. We will review the operation of this system in the first year to see if further flexibility might be offered later.“

Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy was agreed at the Council of Agriculture Ministers last June and will take effect from 2005 when the new Single Farm Payment Scheme will replace a number of existing livestock and arable payments.

To be eligible for the single farm payment, land must satisfy the ten month rule, as well as cross compliance conditions. The arrangements available to Member States are set out in the implementing legislation

Source: Scottish Executive - 20th May 2004

5m Editor