Farmers face payment cuts over cattle ID rules
Farmers Weekly Interactive - UK Tuesday 09 March 2010 03:00
British cross compliance checks have revealed nearly half of all livestock farms face having single farm payments cut because of failures on cattle identification rules.
Cattle identification is perennially the most common transgression and the Rural Payments Agency is expected to take a tougher line this year, according to cross compliance adviser, Simon Draper.
In the past it has issued warning letters but this year many farmers could face cuts of government farm payments if they don't start complying with regulations.
And if failure rates continue as they did last year, with roughly 50% of holdings refusing inspections on cattle identification, inspection rates countrywide could be doubled, Mr Draper said.
Figures last year showed 8909 animals were incorrectly identified, 1281 farms had holding register discrepancies and 2459 holdings failed to notify births, deaths or movements. Refusal of state laws will not be allowed.
If breaches continue to increase they have the potential to hit a threshold, which under EU rules could result in the inspection enforcement process being doubled countrywide, said Mr Draper speaking at a farmer discussion meeting with officials from British Cattle Movement Service and the Cross Compliance Advice Programme.
"For every failure it is costing the industry, so it's in no-one's interest to be failing," he said. Funds are not being collected for the government. Farmers are refusing to pay.
This reinforces the importance of keeping accurate movement records and complying with legislation. Farmers also have to remember to keep up to date now - as it's too late to change things once the phone call has been received requesting an inspection.
"The inspection starts the minute you pick up the phone to the inspector," said Mr Draper.