NFU Cymru has told the Welsh Assembly that publishing details of an individual farmers’ single farm payment is of interest to the public, but that does not mean that it is in the public interest.


In its response to the assembly’s consultation on the proposal, the union has rejected the argument that knowing the level of SFP received by individual farmers would allow the public to judge whether the investment of that money in the farm business is well spent.


The union said that public interest favoured accountability and transparency in public spending.


But NFU Cymru said it was concerned that there was a huge misconception amongst the general public that the single farm payment equated to farm profit.


This in turn could lead to the misinterpretation of an individual’s financial standing amongst neighbours, employees and those involved in the business, as most farm businesses in Wales were family farms employing a number of family members.


It was totally unreasonable to expect the general public to understand farm finance and business management any more than they would understand the financial operations and mechanics of any other production or manufacturing business, it said.


The information disclosed would no doubt be a source of interest and comment within their community, but it could also be used as a marketing tool when negotiating prices for farm purchases and investments. 


There was also potential for fraudsters to identify those farmers in receipt of the highest payments and thus target their holdings. Disclosure could also aid identity fraud as exact names addresses and postcodes would be provided.


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