29 November 1996

Sheep leasing concession

SHEEP producers claiming annual premium for 1997 will be able to do so on leased-in ewe lambs, following a change in the guidance notes now being sent out by MAFF.

The application period for SAPS and HLCAs starts next Wednesday (Dec 4) and runs to Feb 4, 1997. This is then followed by the 100-day retention period to May 15.

The most significant change this year will make leasing sheep in that much easier, says Susannah Wall of solicitors Burges Salmon. In the past, it has only been possible to claim on leased-in ewes if they were in-lamb and the lessor received the money from the sale of those lambs.

But now it will be possible to claim on leased ewes or ewe lambs, on the condition that the claimant also holds at least 10 eligible animals throughout the year (and so qualifies as a "producer"). This may be useful to farmers who need to make a claim in order to satisfy usage rules – that at least 70% of quota is used each year.

Another change this year also requires producers to indicate when they will gathering flocks (eg for lambing or clipping) to help MAFF do on-farm checks.