Preparing your farm for January 2021
Following a period of transition, the UK is set to see some big changes resulting from our EU departure. We take a look at how these changes are set to affect farmers come January 2021 and what changes you should be making to prepare during the next year.
Farm subsidy changes
In 2018, farmers were told that their main cash subsidy would stay in place for another year, but these were due to be phased out through 2020 due to Britain’s EU exit. The extension was granted to ensure that farms were given due notice in order to prepare for the changes. The Basic Payment Scheme will continue to run throughout this year and can be acquired in the same way as before during this transition period. Following this, the Farm Payments Bill will look at providing a new way to support farmers. While many believe these changes offer a positive future for the farming community, farmers will need to prepare for the changes to come.
Importing and exporting
The gov.uk website explains that to continue exporting goods through the EU, UK farmers need to get a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. Farmers will need to determine if they want to hire an agent for import/export as well as contacting your haulier/courier agency to find out the information they need to make the declarations for your goods. Alternatively, they may choose to make these declarations themselves.
If farmers frequently trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland, they will need to take note of the different procedures required; more guidance can be found here.
Import tariff rates
Due to the importance of the UK and EU’s trading relationship within the agri-food industry, it is vital that the import tariffs remain fair and within reason for both sides. To get this right, the government has implemented a 12-month temporary tariff regime. Farmers will need to remain up to date on the tariff rates following that period. For those dealing with plant products, they may find that under the Plant Health Regulations 2016/2031 (PHR) implemented from December 2019 they will now require a passport to move regulated plants to and from the EU. Seed exporters will need to list their seeds through the EU Common Catalogue via a member state
From the 1st January 2021, how farmers import animals, animal products and high-risk food will be changing, in particular the process of notifying the UK authorities.
Those importing from non-EU countries will no longer have access to the EU’s import system TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) from this point and instead they will need to use the Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS). For those importing from EU countries, you must use the IV66 form to notify the relevant UK authorities if you were reporting through TRACES before. You can find more information about this here.
For farmers who employ EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, from December 2020, you will need to adhere to a new points-based immigration system which will be determined fully over the course of the next year. These changes should not discourage farmers from employing workers from the EU.
Food labelling changes
From 2021, the way the agri-food business needs to label food and drink products is set to change. At the moment, it is not clear whether the UK will be able to trade organic products with the EU from this point, so if your business would be affected by this – it’s worth staying abreast of such conversations. No UK business will be allowed to display the EU emblem or EU organic logo on products without being authorised by the EU to do so. You can find out more about this here.
It’s clear that there’s a lot to think about for UK farmers in the next year, but support will be provided to make the transition as painless as possible. Such changes are likely to impact your insurance requirements so it’s worth undertaking regular reviews during this period of uncertainty. At Watkin Davies, our specialist team can help you through this process, ensuring your policy remains relevant and valid while you make any changes you need to. To find out more, get in touch on 02920 626 226.