THE CHAIRMAN of the National Fallen Stock Company has said he will consider changes to the collection scheme but warned this could triple the subscription fee.

Responding to criticism of the scheme in farmers weekly (News, Jan 21), Michael Seals said that NFSCo could change the type of service it offered but it would come at a cost.

“We could change the type of service we offer. Maybe we ought to have regional fieldsmen and women, maybe we ought to offer a helpline service along the lines of over-30-month collection where we centralise the collection and charges,” he said.

“I would welcome any input from stakeholders for any proposed changes, but they would come at a cost, a big cost – maybe three times the current subscription at least.”

Mr Seals, a beef farmer from Derbys, pointed out that in the first four weeks of the scheme there had been over 15,000 successful collections and 20,000 farmers had joined.

There had been IT teething problems, he admitted, but the overall design of the system was working well in most areas, and it had delivered 150,000 in government support.

He also reminded producers that even if the NFSCo and its scheme were not in existence then producers would still have to comply with the on-farm burial ban.

“People think we”ve created something new but we haven”t,” he said. “NSFCo is offering the same service to farmers as existed on the ground before we were invented. “All we have done is to advertise to our farmer members the services offered by collectors, their prices and an administration system – plus we offer a 30% government-funded discount.”

Mr Seals said a number of producers were unwilling to sign up to a direct debit and he understood their reservations. But he believed it was the only way to proceed without adding cost. “How do you collect 25 from individuals without creating a whole load of bureaucracy?” he said.