Farmers save time online
Broadband offers farmers a range of benefits including being able to fill in their Single Farm payment paperwork online rather than working through the paperwork by hand.
At a training session organised by the CLA for its members in the IT training suite at the Westmorland County Agricultural Society, Carol Wilson of the Rural Payments Agency Online Innovations Team talked farmers through the process and demonstrated the benefits of using technology to take the strain, helping farmers reduce one of their main complaints the amount of paperwork that needs completing.
Carol said: I would encourage farmers to consider filing their paperwork online. It is not at all complicated, and is much faster than using the traditional forms, and allows you to spot and correct any errors immediately, so you can be reassured that when you submit your completed work, you can be sure it is correct.
It has been a very worthwhile experience today and it is encouraging that the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with people surprised at just how straightforward this system is.
CLA Assistant Regional Director North Carole Hodgson also took the opportunity to brush up her computer skills using her own farm records. As someone who has spent several years helping members with their paperwork, she is already aware of the benefits of on line form filling. She said: Those members who have already used the service would endorse the fact that it is easy to do and a good check that all the necessary boxes have been filled in. It has been a very useful exercise and I can now say with some authority that if you can send an email, then you should be able to get to grips with the technology very quickly, and the time saving can be considerable.
To access the RPA Online service, or enrol and register, go to www.businesslink.gov.uk/sps-claim and follow the instructions. To register for the first time, farmers will need their RPA Personal Identification Numbers (PIN), which were mailed in March to those not previously registered. Help is available throughout the process, via the How to use section and a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions, or by calling 0845 603 7777.