Farmers missed out on £2.3m in payments, says RPA

Farmers in England missed out on millions of pounds in EU payments last year because of poor record keeping, the Rural Payments Agency has revealed.

The RPA said a total of £2.33m was withheld from payments because of cross-compliance breaches relating to inadequate paperwork.

See also: Cross compliance breaches 2013

The agency’s figures show there were 2,972 failures last year. Cattle keepers attracted the highest number of breaches (810) for incorrect reporting of movements and animals being found without passports.

An extra 711 inspections focusing on soil protection and nitrate vulnerable zone issues meant these areas generated the second highest number of failings.

Failure to keep accurate and up-to-date records, leaving temporary field heaps in position for more than 12 months or too close to watercourses, accounted for 562 breaches – 328 of them as a result of the extra inspections.

Soil Protection Review issues produced 535 failures with 383 generated by the additional inspections.

Issues with animal medicine and mortality records saw a rise from 95 breaches in 2012 to 148 last year.

Other areas where breaches increased include:

  • Sheep and goat reporting errors – up 34 on last year
  • Cultivating or applying fertiliser or pesticides in the protection zones around either hedgerows or watercourses increasing from 184 to 221
  • Failing to comply with a water abstraction licence saw a rise of 23 breaches.

RPA operations director Paul Caldwell said: “Release of these figures is just one of the ways that we help farmers and the agricultural industry as part of our ongoing commitment to support rural economies.

“The aim is to make farmers aware of the most common errors to help them to avoid future penalties and keep more of their vital Single Payment Scheme funds.

“The data shows that, similar to 2012, failure to keep adequate records was a major cause of breaches across a number of cross-compliance requirements.”

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