13 December 1996

Pay OTMS men penalised for their patience, demands NFU

THE NFU is still pressing government to pay the full compensation rate for over-30-month cattle caught in the backlog and not slaughtered until after Oct 21, when payments were cut.

Sir David Naish, NFU president, urged more than 150 farmers at a meeting in Hereford last week, to lobby their local MPs over the 10% cut which he described as crass and totally unjust. The rate was cut from 1ecu to 0.9ecu/kg liveweight.

"It seems totally unfair that those farmers who had patiently waited to get their cattle on the cull should be treated this way. I believe there should be some payment for keeping those animals after Oct 21.

"It is quite monstrous that the moment the cut was made was the time the OTMS cull began to work and cattle disappeared like snow on a hot day," Sir David said.

He also told members that he did not see any opportunity for differential payments for OTMS suckler and dairy cows. "There is only one payment, I dont see any opportunity for change here, in any case records have not been kept to say what type of cattle have gone on the OTMS."

Devon NFU executives council has sent a resolution to NFU headquarters stating that the branch remains deeply concerned by governments failure to reinstate the cut in compensation "and is not prepared to take no for an answer".

It calls on NFU HQ to redouble its efforts to secure adequate recompense to redress the biggest single injustice in the operation of the scheme.

The council also asked for an inquiry into the operation of the OTMS which would examine why some were able to get cattle into the scheme quickly and easily while others had to wait.

many months.

Ian Pettyfer, incoming Devon NFU chairman, said the south-west region suffered most and the cost to the region of carrying OTMS cattle through the summer could be evaluated.