Nobody likes record keeping, but if you claim either the Basic Payment Scheme, Countryside Stewardship or Environmental Stewardship over your land, you are liable to meet the rules of Cross Compliance. The Cross Compliance rules are made up of Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAECs) and Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs), focussing on matters such as welfare and environmental considerations.
Getting it wrong can lead to considerable penalties, depending upon the severity of the breach. Inspections from the Rural Payments Agency are completed at random with very little notice, often less than 48 hours. The Rural Payments Agency publish their findings from inspections which often identify Cross Compliance breaches in relation to livestock ID and registration through to maintaining buffer strips along watercourses.
The most notable hurdle farmers fall at is in relation to Nitrate Vulnerable Zones and the associated record keeping covered by the cross-compliance requirement known as Statutory Management Requirement 1 (SMR1). If your land falls within a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone regardless of whether your land is within a Scheme, you are legally required to not only comply with rules in relation to spreading and storage but also keep appropriate records, both historic and current. Furthermore, July 2019 sees the end of transitional arrangements which have provided a grace period for those areas designated as Nitrate Vulnerable Zones in 2017.
Symonds & Sampson LLP have a specialist team of Agents across the region who can offer advice on matters relating to Cross Compliance and assist with any record keeping requirements you may have. Please get in touch with Annie at our Salisbury office (01722 334323), or contact your local Symonds & Sampson office for more information.