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Applications have opened from 12 April 2022 for English farmers to apply for a lump sum to exit the farming industry. They will be able to take their future Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments in a ‘lump sum’ retirement payment up to a maximum amount of £100,000. The scheme will stay open for just six months closing on 30 September 2022.

Matthew Ayres, from our Bedford Office said: “To qualify applicants must have made a Basic Payment Scheme claim in May 2018 and payment will be based on the average Basic Payment Scheme paid in the three years 2019, 2020 and 2021with the average setting the reference amount.

The applicant must transfer their farmland either through gifting or selling the land or by granting a new Farm Business Tenancy for a minimum of five years or surrendering a tenancy with this completing by 31 May 2024. Residential and commercial property, non-agricultural land and up to five hectares of agricultural land can be retained, or the land could be planted with woodland.”

Once the lump sum payment is made, farmers will no longer be eligible for BPS payments or delinked payments which are due to replace BPS in 2024 in England. They will no longer be eligible to enter into new agreements, or add land to existing agreements under some other schemes during the rest of the agricultural transition however they will be able to work as an agricultural contractor or for other farmers.

Matthew added: “Our team is urging farmers and landowners to consider their options as the lump sum scheme will only be available for a short time and will not re-open in the future. It is important that they seek expert advice to enable them to decide whether it is the right option for them.”

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