Cross compliance obligations

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Some farmers’ direct payments, including the Basic Payment, are conditional on meeting ‘cross compliance’ provisions. These are baseline standards for agriculture that Basic Payment applicants must meet. From 2007, cross compliance also applied to new land-based rural development schemes. There are two key elements of cross compliance that farmers must meet:

  • Standards of good agricultural and environmental condition (GAEC). These have been in place since Jan 2005 and set requirements for farmers to protect soils and maintain a range of habitat and landscape features characteristic of the English countryside. Many of these were existing law and reflect good practice

  • Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs). These are set by the European Union, apply to all Member States and were phased in over a three year period from January 2005. They cover a range of issues dealing with the environment, public, plant and animal health and animal welfare.

NB These can change from year to year. It is important that producers make sure they are using the latest documents. Failure to meet the GAEC or SMRs could mean that part or all of the Basic Payment may be withheld by the payment agency.

Some of the good practice outlined in the Code of Good Agricultural Practice will help meet cross compliance requirements. However, the Code does not replace any specific guidance issued for cross compliance purposes including that for soil management.

Click here to go to the Government website for more on the cross compliance rules.