The Scottish National Farmers Union, which has been in discussions with Scottish Government about the issue on a number of occasions, believes that a replacement system for linked holdings must make allowances for businesses which have frequent local moves between holdings.

The current system allows farmers to move cattle within their business to different farms and crofts without recording the information centrally. They do however need to record the move on their own herd register.

This system, which provides a simplified method of recording movements within the farm business, is not currently covered within legislation and if left unchanged the government is liable for large fines from the European Union.  In the case of the UK leaving the EU, the government will still need an improved traceability system to minimise industry damage in the case of disease outbreaks, such as foot and mouth.

NFU Scotland understands that the Scottish Government is looking to press ahead with introducing a new system at the end of the year.  However, the Union has stressed that any new system needs to be properly communicated to farmers and crofters so they are comfortable with the new arrangements before any compliance problems emerge.



Charlie Adam, NFU Scotland’s Livestock Committee Chairman commented: “Removal of linked holdings will be a big change for industry. We need to ensure the new system is properly communicated to farmers. England is running a phased approach which includes individual letters and phone calls to support farmers during the transition.

“There must be an understanding that farmers and crofters who are making every effort to comply do not get stung with penalties.

“This new system needs to address the burden of reporting very frequent movements; make reporting easy; avoid the recording of within business moves on the passport/British Cattle Movement System; and minimises the risks of cross compliance failures resulting from the increase in reported moves.

“As discussions progress, we continue to stress that cross compliance and inspections remain a stumbling block. We are challenging the government to consider options to help minimise these risks.”

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