Mixed reaction to farm licences

21 November 2001

Mixed reaction to farm licences

By Andrew Blake

THE governments idea that farms or growers may need licenses to continue in business has received mixed reaction at the Grain 2001 at Stoneleigh.

Opinions about an all-embracing certificate ranged from firm opposition to cautious welcome. But most commentators wanted more details.

National Farmers Union president Ben Gill said it was unclear whether licensing would apply to individual farmers or to their farms.

“There is not justification for another tier of bureaucracy when the industry is already trying to address all the issues being raised.

Graham Jellis, research director at the Home-Grown Cereals Authority, said: We dont need unnecessary regulation.

He added: With cereals we already have Assured Combinable Crops, which is the most appropriate way to go.

But Mike Calvert, director of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, said the concept should cover the whole food chain and imports.

“There are still too many assurance schemes. Its all too complicated and many growers still dont know whats going on.

Andy Wells of ADAS said: “The last thing farmers want at the moment is any more red tape, and I dont think the standard out there is that poor.

“There are always a few operating on the edge, and licensing probably wouldnt track them down.

Terence Pardod, of the Coastal Grain co-op, said it was a step too far.

Most growers are farming at the limit, and if they are working to the standards that are already there then licensing isnt necessary.

But grain equipment supplier Gavin Lishman thought single-hit licensing to replace all current assurance schemes had plenty going for it.

It should be done at no extra costs and could offer UK farmers the chance to market their wares more aggressively in the face of imports.

Provided it means less red tape, it makes sense, he said.


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