11 August 1995

Field boundary numbers move

IN FUTURE farmers will have to apply to their MAFF regional service centre for new field numbers for their IACS forms.

They will have to obtain the numbers whenever a field boundary is changed permanently or, less likely, if land is being included on an IACS form for the first time.

The number would be needed when fields are amalgamated or divided or parts of fields are used for development. After carrying out a series of checks the RSCs will provide the farmer with a new number and the total area of the field. It will be a free service.

Farmers completing their IACS form will still have to deduct any uncropped or ungrazed areas from the total area, says MAFF. It is introducing the new service, after consultations with the industry, as the best way to deal with permanent changes in field boundaries since 1995 IACS forms were submitted.

"Ministers have now concluded that restricting the issue of IACS field numbers to RSCs would be the most effective way to maintain an anti-fraud system," says MAFF. Further consultations will be held on the detailed procedures for the service which is expected to begin in October.

The NFU welcomes MAFFs announcement as it feels most farmers should find the service useful. However, it fears there could be some unnecessary duplication of effort for larger producers and landowners using professional advisers.