By FWi staff

FEED compounder J Bibby Agriculture has joined its sister company Allied Mills in announcing support for farm-assured grain.

It will source solely farm-assured grain by harvest 2000.

About 15% of the grain used by the company at present is identified from farms registered with the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme (ACCS), said Chris Rackkham, raw material director of Bibbys parent ABN.

“And it is our aim to increase this significantly from harvest 1999, with all grain being sourced from ACCS farms from harvest 2000,” he said.

The company believes that ACCS is an important step in improving the material traceability and safety necessary to meet consumer and retailer demands.

“We are part of the human food chain and this scheme is one of a range of measures designed to maintain satisfactory feed quality standards,” stressed Mr Rackham.

An increasing number of flour millers, both large and small, are expected to be giving priority to assured grain following the 1999 harvest.

Of 13 millers questioned in a survey carried by millers organisation NABIM last year, all were planning to source 100% ACCS grain by 2000. Three are targeting this years harvest.

This announcement came at the same time as the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) submitted fresh evidence to the European Commission that ACCS will disadvantage small farmers.

The FSB claims that a recent Wye College report clearly showed small and medium-sized farms to be disadvantaged by the extra costs of the scheme.

“Despite recent suggestions to the contrary, the Wye College report shows most farmers oppose farm assurance,” said the FSBs chairman, Bob Robertson.

“It also finds that it will discount UK grain, which is effectively illegal trade distortion within the single market, and to which other EU producers and imports are not subject,” he said.

If the Commissions competition directorate favours any of the complaints, Mr Robertson claims that ACCS and the Assured Produce Scheme should be required to compensate farmers for extra costs incurred in joining the schemes.