NFU lobbying has led to a change in the cross compliance rules for late bTB tests which will see some farmers who had been fined for overdue tests get their money back.
Since January 1 2014 failure to complete some types of bTB test within the testing window notified to the farmer by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has resulted in farmers being fined part of their CAP scheme payments under cross compliance rules. This rule was expanded on January 1 2015 to include other bTB test types, such as short interval tests following a herd breakdown.
Following extensive discussions with the NFU, Defra has made a change to the rule which will help those cattle keepers who are doing their best to meet their statutory obligations. The change is designed to remove confusion about when cross compliance penalties are triggered.
John Royle, NFU chief livestock adviser, said: “Farmers recognise the importance of having their bTB tests done on time as part of the fight against this disease and do everything they can to ensure this happens. Now, rather than having to have their cattle injected and the test read within the test window to avoid a cross compliance fine, only the injection has to take place within the window. However, the reading of the test still has to take place within 72 hours of the injection, as required by EU legislation.”
“While this is only a small change to the rule it is a significant one because it will be applied retrospectively, which means some cattle keepers who had been penalised will have their one per cent fine reimbursed. We urge farmers to contact the APHA for advice if their test is going to go overdue so the reasons for the delay, if they are outside the farmer’s control, are recorded and the officials assessing the case can take them into account.”