Energy prices – which have been rising at a rate of knots this year – have a direct impact on the price of many agricultural commodities. For example, manufacturing ammonium nitrate requires large quantities of gas. So fertiliser prices tend to spike in line with rising gas costs. On top of that, farmers face other associated challenges such as the rising price of tractor diesel.
George Eustice, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, says he recognises the effect of this. And he knows that farmers are currently feeling a short-term pressure on cashflow, plus an increased risk on their profit and loss accounts.
The Rural Payments Agency has therefore decided to bring forward 50% of this year’s BPS payment. This advance injection of cash to farm businesses is sure to be welcome. It will take place from the end of July, with the balance being paid in the payment window from December.
It has also been announced that this may become a permanent change to the way BPS is paid, with twice yearly instalments becoming the norm.
Note, however, that the deadline for submitting applications for this year’s BPS is Monday 16 May 2022.