19 January 2000
MAFF changes beef scheme rules

By FWi staff

THE Ministry of Agriculture has announced a change in the rules of its three-week-old Beef Slaughter Premium Scheme after criticism from farmers.

Cattle returning to a farm will not now have to re-start the two-month retention period to be eligible for payment under the new scheme.

Lawyers for the Ministry of Agriculture re-examined the way the scheme was run after farmers said it was in danger of costing them thousands of Pounds.

Problems came to light when Staffordshire farmer John Parrot contacted Farmers Weekly after returning from Penkridge market with an unsold bull.

He was told he would not be allowed to claim the slaughter premium, worth 16.92, unless he kept the animal on his premises for another 60 days.

“It would simply not be economical to do that with a bull that has come to the end of its productive use,” said Mr Parrot.

A number of other farmers subsequently raised the issue with the National Farmers Union which informed MAFF of the problem earlier this month.

NFU livestock adviser Kevin Pearce said that maintaining the original interpretation would have turned the scheme into a complete shambles.