Sheep farmers who don’t have access to a computer are being advised to continue using the paper-based system to report sheep movements.
From Tuesday (1 April), a new electronic movement system is being introduced by DEFRA to report movements of sheep, goats and deer in England.
The new national database – Animal Reporting and Movement Service (Arams) – will start recording sheep movements electronically.
However, the National Sheep Association (NSA), said the introduction of the database has caused some confusion.
Jo Briggs, NSA communications manager, said the association has received a high number of calls from members concerned that they didn’t fully understand the changes.
She urged sheep farmers not to panic, saying: “The good news is that the compulsory changes are slight and the more complicated changes are optional.”
While it is compulsory for auction markets, collection centres and abattoirs to report sheep movements electronically, farmers have the choice to stick with the paper system if they do not feel ready to embrace online reporting.
Mrs Briggs added: “The only real change is that the old AML1 form has been replaced with a new ARAMS1 form.
“The ARAMS1 is virtually identical so you should have no problem filling it out, but be aware that you need to post or fax it, not to your local authority but to SouthWestern, the company delivering the new electronic database on behalf of DEFRA.”
In summary, NSA has urged sheep farmers:
- You must swap from the old AML1 form to the new ARAMS form and send it to SouthWestern instead of your local authority.
- You are encouraged to check that your local AHVLA office has the correct name, address, postcode and country parish holding number (CPH) numbers for you, and that those CPHs are registered for sheep.
- You can choose to register an online account and report movements electronically.
Contact details are on the new form, which you can pick up from markets, abattoirs, collection/assembly centres, your local authority and shows.
Farmers who mistakenly fill out an old AML1 form will still have them accepted by SouthWestern for the time being.
Local authorities have also agreed to send on any forms sent to them in error, although this will delay the movement being officially reported
“If you make an error on the ARAMS1 form this will not stop the movement going ahead, but you will be contacted by SouthWestern if, for example, the country parish holding (CPH) number is wrong or you’ve forgotten to sign the form,” explained Mrs Briggs.
NSA understands such a referral will not automatically trigger a cross compliance penalty, as incorrectly reporting a movement is not an offence.
The only document that needs to be correct for cross compliance purposes is your holding register, so it is important this is up-to-date and correct should you receive an inspection.
“A holding register that can be automatically updated by the electronic database is one option on offer to farmers who chose to report electronically rather than on paper,” added Mrs Briggs.
Farmers can find out more about this and have a look around the SouthWestern website, with no obligation to commit to online reporting, by opening an account at http://www.arams.co.uk/.