10 May 2000
Aid for hemp growers in label row
By FWi staff
THE Intervention Board has agreed to pay aid payments totalling 85,000 to hemp growers following a dispute over their eligibility for subsidy.
Intervention Board officials had told a number of growers that they would not be eligible for aid on their whole acreage.
New rules mean growers are required to send in their original seed labels to confirm they are cultivating the right type of hemp and are eligible for aid.
But the farmers submitted their claims before they were notified of the new rules, meaning they each stood to lose support payments worth up to 18,000.
However, the National Farmers Union argued that seed labels were most relevant during disputes over the variety of seed grown, rather than the area sown.
The growers proved the amount and type of hemp grown by using invoices, an on-farm inspection and the fact that the hemp was in storage on-farm.
The Intervention Board has now agreed to pay out in full.
But it stressed that the decision to pay out in this case must be seen as an exception and that original seed labels must be included in future claims.