26 December 1997


NORTHERN barometer Caley Sackurs main criticism of the ACCS is the lack of return for its apparently high initial cost of £350 for his own unit.

"It seems a bit steep. What are we getting for our money?" Until such time as a marketing advantage emerges, he believes the cost should be lower. "Maybe £100 would be about right."

His other big concern is that buyers will have little hesitation in going abroad for supplies, where there may be no similar assurances, should they prove cheaper. "Germany and France for example may not be working to such firm guidelines."

Although believing some form of assurance is inevitable to prove to consumers that farmers are working to high standards, as a recently registered LEAF farm he considers the extra bureaucracy and form filling unwelcome.

He is still undecided whether to join up. "I expect to look at it in more detail after Christmas."

On a practical level he reckons Lodge Farm, Tibthorpe, N Yorks is fairly well placed to become registered without too many modifications. "We are doing most things required already. But some of the record keeping, for example on stored grain, seems a bit over the top. Monthly checks, once it is dried, should be adequate." Weekly monitoring during the busy autumn spell could be a waste of time, he suggests.

"We may have to make the store a bit more vermin-proof and attend to the light bulb covers." By and large though hygiene levels, with sound pre-harvest cleaning are good, he maintains.

Once-a-month checks of stored grain should be ample, says Caley Sackur, who has yet to decide whether to join the scheme.

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