22 June 2001

Major cuts in farm assurance costs

By Robert Harris

FARM assurance costs will halve on larger farms from July 1 when serious competition in the sector kicks in. Smaller units will also make big savings.

Farm Assured British Beef and Lamb widened its livestock-only remit at the beginning of June when it acquired a license to verify arable farms to Assured Combinable Crops Scheme standards.

This week, it announced a pricing structure for its new integrated farm assurance service covering cereals and livestock in England and Wales.

FABBL will charge farmers wanting cereals-only assurance a fee of £120 for year one if they farm less than 200ha (494 acres) and £170 if they farm more than that.

A joint FABBL membership for beef/lamb and combinable crops will cost £160 in the first year for farms growing up to 200ha of combinable crops and £210 for larger units.

Livestock-only membership remains at £85. In all cases, renewals will cost £10 less than the joining fee. The company may charge more for multiple sites.

FABBL chairman Ian Frood says the charges offer the "best deal" in a tough financial climate.

Current ACCS annual charges range from £95/year for farms growing up to 29ha (72 acres) of combinable crops to £350 for those growing more than 250ha (617 acres), before loyalty discounts.

A mixed farm of 250ha would have paid £435 under the two separate schemes. By joining the new one, the cost will fall by £225. A cereals-only unit of the same size will save £180.

"We already have the FABBL infrastructure in place – inspectors, office staff and equipment – which has helped us to cut costs," says Mr Frood.

ACCSs Robin Pirie says his company will also offer an integrated scheme by October, along with a competitive price package. &#42