30 October 1998

Land swaps to be permissible

THE latest MAFF guidance points to a relaxation of the rules governing swaps of IACS eligible land for ineligible land, according to Richard Sanders of midlands chartered surveyors Fisher Hoggarth.

He says the 1999 IACS Update implies that swaps will be permissible, providing the applicant can show relevant and objective reasons for it, and particularly if there is an environmental objective.

"It could allow mixed farmers to move grass leys within an arable rotation," he said. "If a farmer has an area of ineligible land which is cropped, and is also undertaking a grass ley rotation, he could secure full area payments on all the arable acres."

The grass area could become critical if proposals to limit payments of livestock headage subsidies, including a dairy headage payment, based on actual stocking densities go ahead. "Livestock farmers will need all the forage area they can get in order to get the most out of these payments," he said.

Swaps could also be used between two specialised businesses. A dairy farmer could rent IACS eligible land to an arable farmer, who would exchange non-eligible grassland." &#42