THE ROYAL Association of British Dairy Farmers has described DEFRA‘s proposals for cross-compliance measures in England as “over-zealous and far too prescriptive”.

The govenrment consulation period on cross-compliance closed on Jun 2, but the RABDF has called for a more pragmatic approach similar to that being considered in Scotland.

“We fully appreciate the need for cross compliance as part of Mid Term Review,” said RABDF chairman Tim Brigstocke.

“However, the costs associated with the proposed measures will have a direct effect on the industry‘s profitability, consequently they are of immediate concern to the association.”

RABDF argues that one of the principle objectives of decoupling was to allow farmers to take decisions based on market opportunities.

But it believes the detailed demands of many of the cross-compliance proposals are not in the spirit of decoupling.

“They will impose unnecessary burdens on the industry and will reduce the opportunities that CAP reform may offer to the dairy sector,” said Mr Brigstocke.

“While we recognise and accept DEFRA‘s requirement to deliver environmental improvements, we do not support the use of cross-compliance to achieve those goals.

“Adopting such a prescriptive approach as proposed in the consultation document is likely to disadvantage English dairy farmers who are increasingly in competition with other EU states, in addition to the market challenges from the main dairy product exporting countries.”