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Stackyard News Jun 07

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Environmental Stewardship Schemes - Are You Compliant?

FARMERS who claim under the environmental stewardship and single payment schemes are responsible for complying with the conditions of the schemes by meeting cross compliance requirements.   If they are found to be in breach of any these requirements,  their payments could be affected. 

Graeme Bruce

Graeme Bruce

Graeme Bruce from Alnwick-based Youngs Chartered Surveyors explains: “You must keep your land in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC) and comply with a number of specified legal requirements, known as Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs), relating to environment, public, animal and plant health.  Three further directives have been added to the cross compliance rules for 2007 but they are based on current legislation and chiefly relate to animal welfare. 

“Inspections are carried out to ensure that applicants have met the cross compliance requirements.   Farmers will receive 24 to 48 hours' notice of visits.

“There are a number of common problem areas, including animal identification and tracing and care of field margins.

“It is also important to remember that your management plan must be in place within the first 12 months of the agreement start date, and should be reviewed at least once a year thereafter,” says Mr Bruce 

“All areas claimed in your agreement will be measured during an inspection and it is advisable to leave a tolerance against the areas stated on your application.  Over grazing and muddy gateways could also be a cross compliance issue.

“You must ensure you exactly match any set-aside contracts for non-food crops with your set-aside entitlements, and use any national reserve entitlements every year for the first five years of the scheme, or you will lose the National Reserve element of them.

Finally Mr Bruce warns: “Your direct payment scheme subsidies may be reduced if you are in breach of cross compliance requirements.”

link Wet weather blamed for pesticides setback
link BCPC helping you to spray within the law
link Change one thing on World Environment Day

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