Uninsured producers should have access to feed mills, says Red Tractor


Grain producers held a meeting with AHDB to discuss the prospect of a digital passport method allowing grain not guaranteed by Red Tractor to enter UK feed markets.

Four farmers, including Yorkshire producer Steve Ridsdale, called on the meeting to address the “level playing field” regarding market access for feed mills and other national grain markets.

There are around 47,000 grain farmers in the UK, but just over 20,000 of these are reportedly insured under a program such as Red Tractor, Scottish Quality Crops or the Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured program. Crops.

See also: Opinion: Red Tractor still makes sense for grain farmers

This means that currently more than half of producers are unable to supply their grain to UK feed mill markets, which only accept farm-guaranteed grain under Confederation of Agricultural Industries (AIC) rules. .

Following the meeting, which took place near Milton Keynes on Friday (November 19), Red Tractor issued a statement acknowledging that uninsured producers should be allowed ‘identical’ access to UK flour mills.

Jim Moseley, Managing Director of Red Tractor, said: “We urge AIC to review and modify its program to create a national road to market for unsecured national grains under Femas. [Feed Materials Assurance Scheme] and its “access control protocol”.

“Equal opportunities to supply the UK feed market should be offered to domestic farmers, as is the case with imported grain.”

“Porter” course

An industry task force, chaired by NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw, confirmed that AIC is considering amending the list of recognized provider programs to allow a “gatekeeper” route for the grain uninsured.

In response to the announcement, Mr Ridsdale said Farmers Weekly: ‘This could be a drastic change in the way insurance can work for UK grains, but the devil will be in the details.

“We would now like to see not only AIC, but also UK Flour Millers, Scopa [Seed Crushers and Oil Processors Association] and the Maltsters’ Association of Great Britain are joining the discussion with AHDB to help shape this new insurance method so that it is designed to access all markets.

Now, gatekeeper-type access is likely to be accepted for feed grains, said Ridsdale, said the same concept could also apply to human consumption markets that currently accept imports using this method.

“Competitive disadvantage”

“A tiered system might have basic requirements for feed grains, while a higher tier might work for grains supplied to millers, maltsters and crushers,” he explained.

“All eyes are now on the AHDB and the NFU to see how they can negotiate access to all grain markets without putting UK farmers at a disadvantage compared to imports. “

The AHDB confirmed that it is exploring the grain market control process and verification procedures used in import supply chains.

A spokesperson said: “We will continue to listen and respond to the concerns of our taxpayers, but any potential change in standards for UK and non-UK grains will need to involve broader discussions within the sector.”

Grain farmers talk about the benefits of the alternative insurance method

Grain producers believe that the development of a digital grain system could provide more reliable levels of assurance.

Under current agricultural insurance programs, farms are audited, on average, every 12 months, which means that non-conformities are not identified until after the event.

However, as part of a digital real-time system, food insurance could be more robust, says Steve Ridsdale, producer from Yorkshire.

For example, the real-time system would notify farmers when their National Sprayer Test Scheme (NSTS) certificate expires.

Grain harvest movements could also not be carried out until the system criteria had been met – for example, a mycotoxin risk assessment completed.

“A digital program supervised by AHDB could be cheaper and easier for farmers to adhere to compared to a program such as Red Tractor because it might only focus on food security, but can be more robust than a supervised program. over 12 months.

“The suggestion that AHDB manages the program means that it is controlled by taxpayers – both farmers and industry – and not by a private third-party insurance company. “



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