Cross-compliance probe pleases NBA

The National Beef Association (NBA) has welcomed a European Commission probe on the cost burden of cross-compliance rules that are placed on farm businesses.

The NBA has said it is particularly pleased that the Commission is worried the EU regulations may be hampering the ability of farmers to compete on the global market.

NBA director Kim Haywood said: “Cross-compliance increases the cost of producing food within the UK and some of the requirements, particularly those associated with soil preservation on farms which out-winter cattle, are extremely onerous.

“There is also a genuine worry that regulators may find it difficult to release the expensive grip they have on routine farm management practice through cross-compliance when the CAP payment system is reviewed, and hopefully made simpler, in 2011.”

The NBA has welcomed the fact that the Commission has launched a call for a tender from organisations which can assess the costs farmers face when meeting the environmental, animal welfare and food safety conditions placed on their businesses.

The study will analyse comparative data on non-EU production standards to look into whether EU farmers are working on a level playing field within the world market.

“Farmers in third countries who export to the EU are not affected by cross-compliance rules except for specific food safety requirements, such as residue provisions, like beef hormones, for animal products – unless they face similar restrictions from domestic legislation,” said Haywood.

“We hope this study will establish exactly just how much the additional cost burden faced by EU farmers through compulsory demands on production standards really is and then establish just how much this is hampering the EU’s ability to produce more, much-needed food for itself.”