The advent of the new animal reporting and movement service (Arams) in England has led to a high failure rate at RPA cross-compliance inspections on sheep farms due to discrepancies between farm records and the database, despite the movement documents and holding register being correct.
Jo Pugh from the NSA offers some tips on avoiding penalties:
1. If you use the central point recording centre (CPRC) services at an auction mart or abattoir it is still your responsibility to check the information is accurate.
For example, if the mart records 48 lambs out of a batch of 50, you must ensure the information reported to Arams is corrected.
You can ask the CPRC to make this correction or, if in doubt, contact Arams directly. The priority is ensuring the number of sheep moved is correct, as well as the date and holding numbers.
2. If you are not prepared to accept the risk of a CPRC recording this information on your behalf, you can read identification information yourself using an EID reader.
3. It is not a legal obligation, but you may wish to consider checking records held on Arams against your on-farm records.You can do this by registering electronically with Arams (you do not need to submit movement records online to do this).
4. While discrepancies between database records (Arams) and your own on-farm records carry a cross-compliance risk if not rectified and then discovered at an inspection,
Defra/the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) have confirmed penalties will not follow for errors farmers can verify as outside their control.
This does not include information recorded for you by markets acting as CPRCs but does include, for example, duplicate reports submitted by a market in error to Arams or incorrect data inputting by Arams.
In the meantime the NSA other stakeholder groups have spent a great deal of time seeking clarity on the situation as it stands and urging for tolerance levels to be extended. The EU must be persuaded to acknowledge the practical limitations of the equipment and reconsider the rules.