MAKE SURE diversification activities don‘t jeopardise single farm payments, delegates at the annual Association of Independent Crop Consultants conference (Jan 10) have been told.

As cross compliance comes into force, farmers must ensure any activities beyond crop production do not put their subsidy payments at risk, said Richard Findon from DEFRA.

To avoid jeopardising payments, all land, including that involved in diversification enterprises, must be kept in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition, he said.

Most of this was “commonsense farming” and responsible stewardship, he added.

Some activities such as motorbike scrambling could cause GAEC problems and may risk farmers breaching cross-compliance rules, he said.

“What cross-compliance does mean is that the cowboys of this world now have to meet the standards of responsible farmers,” he said.

Catchment Sensitive Farming as part of the Water Framework Directive, soil management plans and tighter regulations on dealing with farm waste were some of the other topics covered by speakers.