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Stackyard News Aug 07

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Be Aware of Sheep Identification Rules

With official inspections of Scottish sheep farms likely to start in the next few days, NFU Scotland is urging its members to ensure they are aware of all sheep identification rules. Despite foot and mouth restrictions, Scottish Executive officials will be undertaking cross-compliance inspections, following strict biosecurity controls.


swaledale sheep

Sheep identification rules were the subject of roadshows held by the Executive in February and March this year. The rules for 2007 remain unchanged from 2006.

In 2006, some changes were introduced, following discussions between NFUS and the Executive, to reduce the bureaucratic burden on farmers. These included a five-mile concession which allows farmers to move sheep between their holdings and any temporary grazing area, providing they are not more than five miles apart, without having to record the movement and inform the central movement unit. Likewise, for permanently leased land, farmers can amalgamate their farm holding numbers (County Parish Holding (CPH) numbers) to avoid having to record movements between holdings. Importantly, both these concessions will avoid farmers having to maintain separate sets of flock records for each unit. However, farmers must inform their local animal health office if they want to use these concessions.

NFUS members can obtain a factsheet from the Union explaining the rules by phoning 0131 472 4000.

NFUS Vice President Nigel Miller said:

“There have been a lot of changes to sheep ID rules in recent years but there are no new rules for 2007. Whilst there has been a lot of recent discussion on the future of sheep ID in Scotland, the rules which applied in 2006 also apply this year.

“It was clear at the Scottish Executive road shows earlier this year that producers have a lot of questions about how the system operates. With official inspections starting up shortly, it is important that farmers know all the dos and don’ts on sheep tagging and movement records. Sheep ID rules are part of cross-compliance so any problems can have real implications for a farmer’s Single Farm Payment. As always we will be working with the Executive to ensure proportionate action if they uncover any problems during inspections.

“In the meantime, I’d encourage farmers to remind themselves again of the rules to avoid any hassle at inspection.”

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