Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Our Single Farm Payment form is a stickler

 Our Government seems to "Gold Plate" every last rule no matter how petty and small, where as the same rules in France are far more relaxed. For example, all cattle have to have two ear tags, if you’re unlucky enough to have been chosen for an inspection, and if they find a beast with one tag missing you stand to have your entire SFP stopped or percentage deduction.

I can tell you now you do not go very long with every cow calf and bullock having two tags; we buy at least ten replacement tags every year.

Then there’s the satellite mapping saga, with the measurement of Field Margins, cropping areas, wildlife strips, barbed wire boundary fences (which the satellites cannot see)

A few years ago we had an official came with an assistant to physically measure all our fields with a measuring wheel, they were here two days and brought camping gear, stove and kettle and food in a rucksack (I was surprised they did not demand a mobile toilet)

We have 36 fields from 0.2 Hectare to 9 H. and on conclusion of his epic job said he would send me the results in two weeks time. So after two more weeks of pouring over the maps of my farm, the results arrived, and I was amazed that I had gained an extra field, I had now got 37 fields, it took me a whole day to work out where the field map number belonged (I have heard of map numbers, given out by the RPA refereeing to an area of “land” in the middle of the North Sea)

It was in fact the house and garden of a neighbour, whose plot of land juts down into our farm land from the road side, the measuring man had measured round the outside of the garden while measuring the adjacent fields, and when back in the office forgot that that bit of land was in fact a garden and house and included it as my land.

Upon ringing him up to tell him of his error, of which he totally denied he could ever make an error.

The fact he had an extra field and an extra 0.22Hectares he was very pleased that he had proved me wrong in my mapping and was trying hard to justify his and his assistant’s existence and his “hard work” for two weeks.

He must have been very embarrassed when I pointed out to him that he had included my neighbours land and house, and that my mapping and areas of fields were in fact right. (that was until they started satellite mapping) then they wanted a field adjusted up by 0.002H and the next field less .002H with my total area still being correct.

If you can’t beat the join them, I think I will apply for a soft government job like that, I always be his assistant and brew his tea.