No selling corn without a (pointless) form

The ISCC (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification) is not my favourite organisation. I hold it responsible for two serious events that took place during this long, cold, damp summer. The first took place when I signed and dated an important document without having a clue what it meant. This form, produced by the ISCC and sent to all members of my grain co-operative, is apparently part of the Renewable Energy Directive, and signing it is compulsory if you want to sell your grain.

The problem is that it is utter drivel. Let me quote the opening paragraph. The form is a “self declaration of the farm concerning the sustainability of liquid biomass according to the ordnance on requirements pertaining to sustainable production of bioliquids for electricity production and the ordnance on requirements pertaining to sustainable production of bio fuels – cultivation in the European Union.”And it wasn’t just me who found it incomprehensible. So many of the central southern farming community filed the form under “come again?” that a pre-filled-in version was emailed out to help us. I tried pointing out that I loathe signing what I don’t understand, but got nowhere. I had to sign it, and I wasn’t to trouble myself with little matters like knowing what it was I was signing.

By then, of course, the forms were behind schedule, so the lovely Mrs Flindt took advantage of another wet day during harvest to drive up to Hampshire Grain to hand in this crucial but nonsensical document. And this is when the second serious event took place.

Where the Overton Road goes under the A303 just south of Hampshire Grain, there’s a bit of a dip, which collects the rainwater. This was a very wet day indeed, and the lovely Mrs F misjudged the depth of the puddle. The V70’s trusty old Audi 5-cylinder diesel sucked in a slurp of water through the air cleaner, and the faithful family runabout died. Even the valiant attempts at resuscitation by manager Michael (keen to have a break from drying 28% wheat), and the wisdom and advice of half a dozen aged and wise lorry drivers failed to save it. The formal garage report was simple: bent this and knackered that – a write-off.

In the end, all was well on the car front, A cheque swiftly arrived for what I would have said was the value of the Volvo before the engine broke, which paid for a quarter of the 30-month old Octavia estate that Mrs F is now carting children in.

I’m still seething about that form, though. It’s a sad day when farming, famous for calling spades ‘spades’, is reduced to signing legal documents full of incomprehensible blither about greenhouse gasses and biomass sustainability just to satisfy some strange certification body so that our corn can be sent to the grain store. Ah well, it’s all for a good cause – if you believe that the massive climate change industry is ‘a good cause’.

I’m a simple soul; I still think of carbon dioxide as an essential plant food. I still think that warm summers will be good for my crops. I still remember when climate change was called global warming, which, it was guaranteed by the watermelons who run that scary world, would result in long hot
summers – not to mention ‘no more snow’. But hey, what do I know? I can’t even understand their forms.

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