7 September 2001
DEFRA clears up FSS confusion

By Tom Allen-Stevens

Payment of arable area aid is not conditional on compliance with farm-saved seed rules, the Department of Rural Affairs confirmed on Friday 7 September.

DEFRA issued the clarification on the use of farm-saved seed (FSS) after a release last month from the Joints Seeds Working Party confused growers.

The group, made up of the British Society of Plant Breeders and the UK Agricultural Supply Trade Association, stated growers who neglected to pay royalties on FSS risked losing their IACS payments.

It also said FSS could only be used on the same holding on which it was grown, defining that as the same DEFRA holding number.

DEFRA confirmed that IACS payments are only at risk if growers do not adhere to FSS rules for oil seeds and Durum wheat, which are more strictly regulated.

The National Farmers Union pointed out that the Plant Varieties Rights Act defines own holding as land which the farmer actually exploits for plant growing.

This can include both his primary holding and property otherwise managed under his own responsibility, for example other, separate land owned or tenanted.

Following the DEFRA announcement, the National Farmers Union has called for the immediate retraction of the Joints Seeds Working Party statement.

They should have consulted the NFU and had confirmation in writing from DEFRA before issuing it, an NFU spokesperson told FWi.

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