Point shortfall threatens farm assurance schemes

Over 6000 National Register of Sprayer Operators (NRoSO) members are in danger of failing to meet the minimum points required to continue their membership, latest figures have revealed.


At the start of this week, 6422 (43%) of the 15,000 NRoSO members who are due to complete their first three-year term between now and next March had fewer than 30 points, explained Steve Hewitt from the National Proficiency Tests Council, which administers the scheme.


“We are nervous because, if it stays as it is, these people will not get through. But, I suspect a large proportion of these have acquired points, but have not sent evidence to us yet.”


The majority of those affected have at least 15 points and he believes it will be fairly straightforward for farmers to make up any shortfall over the autumn and winter (see panel).


Where the 30 points target is not met, a 90-day “period of grace” is automatically given at the three-year end, with reminder letters sent at 30 and 60 days. If sufficient points are recorded within this period, membership is restored.


“If not, membership is cancelled and this could affect membership of farm assurance schemes,” Mr Hewitt warns.


Given the lack of events that awarded points when NRoSO first started, anyone who joined in 2003 is also being given the option to extend their first membership period by an extra 12 months, he noted.


“You will have to pay an extra £8, but it’s worth it to keep your farm assurance status.”


HOW TO GET THE POINTS



  • Agronomist meetings – up to two per year (2pts per meeting)
  • Subscribe to technical journal/ magazine eg Farmers Weekly, Crops (2pts per subscription)
  • Attend an NSTS meeting each year (3pts per meeting)
  • Attend courses, seminars, conferences (check points allocation)
  • Ask a trainer, college or agronomist to arrange a meeting
  • Check your points balance at www.nptc.org.uk

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