FARMERS WHO have completed a LEAF audit will not have to undertake a separate a Crop Protection Management Plan as part of the Voluntary Initiative.

The inclusion of LEAF audits in the CPMP uptake figures is likely to add around 230,000ha towards the Mar 31 2005 target, according to LEAF Chief Executive Caroline Drummond.

“Farmers need to get recognition for all the good things they are already doing. Those doing a LEAF audit will not have to do a CPMP.”

Projects such as those covered by LEAF and the Voluntary Initiative are now being seen as very positive schemes to get into, with many more farmers getting on board, she added.

“This is now feeding through to government – people are really taking it seriously.

“A DEFRA Select Committee will be looking at the VI this autumn, therefore this is the ideal time to showcase the success of the scheme,” she said.

Total CPMP returns so far are around 13,000ha, compared to a target of 900,000ha, according to the National Farmers Union‘s Neil Kift.

“It is important that farmers show politicians that they can beat this target as well.

“To make reporting easier we have introduced both a faxback facility and online reporting,” he added.