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Thread: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

  1. #1
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    Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    Evening all, my dad owns a small holding near hereford, approx 14 acres. He is getting on and has told me that he has not had the single farm payment for three years now. He received a letter yesterday saying that he will not be getting any payout, even though he has had some in other years.

    Is there a way to complain about this and a way to make sure he is backdated for this?

    Any help would be appreciated, I don't know too much about the whole subject but willing to learn to help my old man out.

    Thanks.

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    I know that a lot of farmers in my area (just over the border from you) have been helped by our local Welsh Assembly Member so you could have a word with your MP if you can't get any sense from your rural payments people. Someone will come along just now who is familiar with the system on your side of the border with some relevant advice.
    Don't itch for something if you're not prepared to scratch for it.

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    First off has he actually claimed? If not given that 2015 was a use it or lose it year for SPS Entitlements than he wont have any entitlements for the land and be able to claim unless he gets some more.
    Is he an NFU member or CLA, if so ring them as they have group secretaries or teams able to offer advice and help filling in forms.
    You can complain to the RPA but like pulling hens teeth, you need to check all in order with paperwork and claim before even bothering to go down that route or it will drive you mad.

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    Post Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    Sorry for the delay in responding and thanks for the responses so far. I spoke to my dad tonight. He is retired and pretty fed up to be perfectly honest. He originally brought the 14 ½ acre smallholding around 2010. He had received the SFP since 2011 for three years with no issues. His agent, Andrew Lyke of Sunderlands (Hereford) put in claims for 2015 which were approved in writing. 2016 was also accepted.

    The problems started when he applied to erect a 80x20 farm building (barn) in 2015. This was passed but then the SFP people (i believe) queried the barn area. His agent, Andrew Lyke then came around to do measurements. When Andrew came around and measured up this area, he also wanted to measure a separate area of Christmas trees which had been there since the purchase and probably well before then, probably 10 years old. His agent said this also had to be deducted from the acres and said it was more than is jobs worth not to measure this area.

    The agent took the measurements, sent the paperwork in and never heard anything back. My dad was later told they were making out cheques etc, that he would hear something soon. Nothing was heard back.

    Dad then tried them again but this time the excuse was that someone had tried to do a satellite measurement of the area and they could not as visibility was poor due to fog. They would send someone out to measure but that never happened.

    So this week he has received a letter about some subsidy to tide people over because of the delays to payments, but he was told he is not getting this either as the payment is to small due to his area of land. Even though no payment have been received for years and no one has come around to measure, no contact, nothing!

    So that is where we are, I don’t know too much about the subject but seems like quite a joke or something fishy going on! Hope someone can shed any light on the subject so we know our next move!

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    Not very sure, but is there not a minimum area that is required before SFP can be claimed.
    Designed to exclude a house with a couple of acres of pony paddock.
    Not sure of the area without going to check.
    Your mention of Shed and Xmas trees could well be removed from the eligible land area......thus drifting below the minimum acreage.
    Worth a check to see.
    Could well see the agents fees exceeding any possible payment.
    Sorry not to be too positive etc.

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    Thanks for the reply, do you know what the minimum acreage is?

    I'm not sure with deducting the two areas in question would reduce to acreage to a point where my dad would not be eligible for the payment.

    Why would the agent get paid to measure this area when surely the SFP people can do it by satellite images or send someone around which should be free (in my opinion it should be free but i'm not totally sure)

    All seems a bit strange, if he is entitled to this payment why is it taking so long and why is no one interested?

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/r...mum-claim-size

    From a bit since, but it fits your experience.

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    The minimum is 5 hectares which is about 12.5 acres so those christmas trees could take your Dad to below the claimable amount.

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    I should have mentioned that he has recently cut down these Christmas trees and in the process of digging these stumps out with a JCB so I still would think that the total area is over the minimum requirement. The Christmas tree area is still a relativity small area.

    Can i ask a few questions:

    1. Does he have to pay the agent to remeasure the land?
    2. If so, why wouldn't the people from the payments scheme come out and measure like when they tried to do this (failed due to fog) satellite reading?
    3. If he is still entitled to these payments, why has it not happened automatically?
    4. Who can you complaint to to make sure these payments are properly backdated from 2015?
    5. Will Brexit make these payment stop when it comes into force meaning if we don't act now then the chances of receiving these backdated payments non-existent?

    Sorry about all the questions, I just want to try and help my dad out the best that i can, it's quite difficult for me finding all this info out online and trying to work out the best plan of action here!

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    Anyone?

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by moosic View Post
    I should have mentioned that he has recently cut down these Christmas trees and in the process of digging these stumps out with a JCB so I still would think that the total area is over the minimum requirement. The Christmas tree area is still a relativity small area.

    Can i ask a few questions:

    1. Does he have to pay the agent to remeasure the land?
    2. If so, why wouldn't the people from the payments scheme come out and measure like when they tried to do this (failed due to fog) satellite reading?
    3. If he is still entitled to these payments, why has it not happened automatically?
    4. Who can you complaint to to make sure these payments are properly backdated from 2015?
    5. Will Brexit make these payment stop when it comes into force meaning if we don't act now then the chances of receiving these backdated payments non-existent?

    Sorry about all the questions, I just want to try and help my dad out the best that i can, it's quite difficult for me finding all this info out online and trying to work out the best plan of action here!
    Well i wouldn't. this problem has been ongoing for 3 years and your agent hasn't resolved it, and more importantly doesn't seem to be doing anything to try and resolve it, if i were you i'd be looking for another agent.

    Primarily the fault is with the RPA, if they were a company they'd have gone bankrupt years ago because someone would have set up competition which was fit for purpose, had a web site that worked and wasn't institutionally incompetent, but you they're the only game in town and they are what they are, you have paid the agent to do a job ie navigate you through the kafkaesque nightmare that is RPA bureaucracy, he patently hasn't done this, so find someone who can, sharpish, as the deadline for the 2018 submission is looming.

    In answer to your other questions re brexit, the answer is no one really knows but it looks like subsidy will be reduce and transferred to what is euphemistically called 'the supply of public goods' no, me neither, but essentially it will link payment to environmental benefits, or whatever Gove thinks is important, which probably won't include producing food.

    the current system is supposedly guaranteed until 2020. If you're filled in a basic payments scheme form every year since your last payment in 2015, then once the mapping issue is resolved, you should get the back payments released, it's around £70 an acre so worth having but you are close to the lower end of the claim threshold, the RPA may be claiming that you don't have enough eligible area as already suggested but their communication re the stop gap payment suggests that a discrepancy over mapping is blocking the payments from being processed.

    You're potentiall looking at losing 5 to six years of payments amounting to around £900 a year, so there's room to pay a decent agent to sort it, speaking to your MP may help too, though this is probably just a techincal issue with the RPA's complex bureaucracy, you need someone who knows the ins and outs of this system and can game it to get your payments processed.

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    One thought.....no chance the land is being claimed by someone else?
    Not wishing to cast any aspersions, but I have heard of cases of neighbours in fact anyone that knows of the fields who is a claimant taking a chance and popping someone else’s fields on their form....

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by moosic View Post
    I should have mentioned that he has recently cut down these Christmas trees and in the process of digging these stumps out with a JCB so I still would think that the total area is over the minimum requirement. The Christmas tree area is still a relativity small area.

    Can i ask a few questions:

    1. Does he have to pay the agent to remeasure the land?
    2. If so, why wouldn't the people from the payments scheme come out and measure like when they tried to do this (failed due to fog) satellite reading?
    3. If he is still entitled to these payments, why has it not happened automatically?
    4. Who can you complaint to to make sure these payments are properly backdated from 2015?
    5. Will Brexit make these payment stop when it comes into force meaning if we don't act now then the chances of receiving these backdated payments non-existent?

    Sorry about all the questions, I just want to try and help my dad out the best that i can, it's quite difficult for me finding all this info out online and trying to work out the best plan of action here!
    Your starting point would be to get a copy of your 2015, 2016 and 17 submissions. Either by requesting from your agent or by contacting the RPA and asking. This will show you what has actually been claimed and the entitlement situation to correspond.

    You should also be able to get a log on from the RPA to look at the Rural Land Register which will show the info the RPA has for your fathers land and its eligible area. If its less in total than the 5Ha minimum give up now. If its not then you can start to complain and investigate further, but ring them up and you will need your father there when you do so you can answer security questions/he can authorise you.

    Your agent should really be able to provide all this stuff but he doesn't sound the best from your posts.
    Forgot to mention that you will also be able to look at your past claim submissions on the RPA website (i.e the info they have processed your claim against) but you will still need to compare them with the actual submissions
    Last edited by BigAndy; 02-05-18 at 10:29 AM. Reason: addittional info

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    Morning everyone, I just wanted to give a strange update as I feel something wierd is going on.

    I have gone through my dads paperwork hard copies, applications have been made online by his agent over the course of the last 5 years which have been submitted.

    The RPA has given him a SIB, Pin and other identifiers from the start but strangely enough I cannot find a Customer Reference Number anywhere in all this pile of paperwork to try and get online to check the details of these submissions online to see whats actually been going on.

    I also find it strange that my dad had had the agent ring him straight after I had emailed him directly regarding these non payments over the last few years and that we wanted paperwork for the submissions. I also mentioned the fact that no one has measured the land since and that we needed to put another new submission in.

    The agent on the phone stated that he was going to speak to the MP himself which i find strange (as he's the agent after all who must have more than my dad's land to deal with) but more worryingly, and don't quote me as I wasn't there but said something like we can claim land that other people don't claim for and that we could always use someone else's land to claim the money back that me dad hadn't received.

    Starting to worry a little now, in my opinion something is going on behind the scenes here. Is there anyway that the agent has the customer reference number and has not given my dad that info so he can't get online to check if any payments have actually been made to the agent? Any advice would be appreciated, my dad wants to give the agent a couple of weeks to see what he comes up with but it smells fishy to me.
    Last edited by moosic; 11-05-18 at 12:01 PM.

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by moosic View Post
    Morning everyone, I just wanted to give a strange update as I feel something strange is going on.

    I have gone through my dads paperwork hard copies, applications have been made online by his agent over the course of the last 5 years which have been submitted.

    The RPA has given him a SIB, Pin and other identifiers from the start but strangely enough I cannot find a Customer Reference Number anywhere in all this pile of paperwork to try and get online to check the details of these submissions online to see whats actually been going on.

    I also find it strange that my dad had had the agent ring him straight after I had emailed him directly regarding these non payments over the last few years and that we wanted paperwork for the submissions. I also mentioned the fact that no one has measured the land since and that we needed to put another new submission in.

    The agent on the phone stated that he was going to speak to the MP himself which i find strange (as he's the agent after all who must have more than my dad's land to deal with) but more worryingly, and don't quote me as I wasn't there but said something like we can claim land that other people don't claim for and that we could always use someone else's land to claim the money back that me dad hadn't received.

    Starting to worry a little now, in my opinion something is going on behind the scenes here. Is there anyway that the agent has the customer reference number and has not given my dad that info so he can't get online to check if any payments have actually been made to the agent? Any advice would be appreciated, my dad wants to give the agent a couple of weeks to see what he comes up with but it smells fishy to me.
    If I was you I would be giving the RPA a call direct.
    They can give you all the info necessary to log onto your dads details online. He must obviously have authorised the agent to act for him at some point but this does not stop him looking online at all the info that has been submitted. If you ring them (probably a big wait at this point, I was on hold for 30 mins yesterday) but get the info to log on and you can start to unravel what happening.
    Is the agent submitting claim for 2018? only a few days left 15th is deadline

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    Ok, thanks Andy, I will pass this on.

    Does this sound like there's something strange going on and should my dad be worried?

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    Beginning to think an agricultural specialist lawyer from some distance away from the scene of the action may be the best way to proceed.
    An initial letter....regarding our client.....past years claims....your responsibility’s as the appointed agent .......blah blah blah.....at your earliest........letter would perhaps clear away the cotton wool and bluster....

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by moosic View Post
    Ok, thanks Andy, I will pass this on.

    Does this sound like there's something strange going on and should my dad be worried?
    Impossible to know, until you check with the RPA and get his past claim details, it may be that he wasn't entitled to anything, until you know what sent in, areas, entitlements etc just cant say. It does sound on the face of it that all not quite as it should be, but if that is mistake, or something else cant say.

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    I would echo what big andy has said, we can't say for sure without all the details but it seems very much as if your agent is at fault here and is obfuscating to cover it up, it's more likely good old fashioned incompetence rather than bad intent but time will tell.

    I would also agree that the way forward is to get hold of the RPA yourself and find out what exactly the problem is, i certainly wouldn't waste any more time with the agent. One point that hasn't been mentioned, any adviser should have public liability insurance to cover them for client loss due to their incompetence, it's possible you could have a claim.

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    Hmm.. It could be incompetence, as Matbrojoe suggests. However, if this is correct...

    Quote Originally Posted by moosic View Post
    don't quote me as I wasn't there but said something like we can claim land that other people don't claim for and that we could always use someone else's land to claim the money back that me dad hadn't received.
    ... it says alot about his mindset. If this is his solution to your problem, then it's possible your Dads land was the 'solution' to somebody else's 'problem'

    Sadly crooked agents do exist. I know. I had to take one to court once.

    As others have said though, the RPA is the place to start.

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    Re: Could anyone help me with single farm payments advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by MC130 View Post
    Hmm.. It could be incompetence, as Matbrojoe suggests. However, if this is correct...



    ... it says alot about his mindset. If this is his solution to your problem, then it's possible your Dads land was the 'solution' to somebody else's 'problem'

    Sadly crooked agents do exist. I know. I had to take one to court once.

    As others have said though, the RPA is the place to start.
    Agreed, that's a massive red flag to me too.

    I'd be looking at specialist advice from a third party with a good reputation. the current agent appears to be either incompetent or worse. But as you say, phone call to the RPA is the first action to take

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