‘Take photos of flood problems’ – RPA

Farmers in flood-hit areas may still get a cross-compliance inspection this year, but the Rural Payments Agency has said it will try to hold off until later in 2014.

The agency has published new cross-compliance guidance for farmers , which says if they have been affected by the heavy rain, it will also look at the farm’s individual circumstances.

PA external relations director Arik Dondi said: “We know this is a worrying time for farmers and want to reassure them that any inspector visiting will take account of the difficulties faced by some of them earlier in 2014 that may have taken compliance outside their control.

“We hope this new guidance will help alleviate some of the worries farmers are still facing and demonstrate our determination to be fast, flexible and responsive to their changing needs and deliver the best customer service there is.”

See more: Latest articles on the floods of 2014

The guidance says if a problem is found during an inspection, for it to be a breach of cross-compliance the farmer must have been able to control the action or inaction.

“We’ll take account of the heavy rain, even though the inspection might be many months later. This safeguards you from potential non-compliances that are outside of your control. So, if the floods caused breaches on your holding, depending on the individual circumstances, these might not be classed as cross-compliance breaches,” it said.

“If you’re concerned about a breach of the cross-compliance rules that’s out of your control, try to keep a record of it. Use photos and/or a written record of the issues. You can show us these if you’re inspected, so we can see how you were affected.”