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Sheep reporting rules need not be cause for alarm, says NSA

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: April 02, 2014

Electronic tagging and reporting has advantages in the new system

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Farmers are being reassured about changes to sheep movement reporting that came into force yesterday.

The National Sheep Association has received a large number of calls but has told concerned members not to panic.

Joanne Briggs, communiations manager for the NSA, said: "The good news is that the compulsory changes are slight and the more complicated changes are optional."

The changes are the result of a new electronic database being introduced by Defra in England for reporting sheep movements, but while it is compulsory for auction markets, collection centres and abattoirs to report electronically, farmers have the choice to stick with the paper system if they do not feel ready to embrace online reporting.

Mrs Briggs continued: "The only real change is that the old AML1 form has been replaced with a new ARAMS1 form. The ARAMS1 is virtually identical so you should have no problem filling it out, but be aware that you need to post or fax it, not to your local authority but to SouthWestern, the company delivering the new electronic database on behalf of Defra. Contact details are on the new form, which you can pick up from markets, abattoirs, collection/assembly centres, your local authority and shows.

"If you mistakenly fill out an old AML1 form, SouthWestern will still accept them for the time being. Local authorities have also agreed to send on any forms sent to them in error, although this will delay the movement being officially reported.

"If you make an error on the ARAMS1 form this will not stop the movement going ahead, but you will be contacted by SouthWestern if, for example, the CPH number is wrong or you've forgotten to sign the form.

"SouthWestern's office at Milton Keynes will contact you by telephone, email and/or letter to remedy an error and, only as a last resort, refer it to the local authority."

The NSA says it has been told that such a referral will not automatically trigger a cross-compliance penalty, as incorrectly reporting a movement is not an offence.

However, the holding register must be kept up to date, or farmers risk a penalty should an incomplete register be found during an inspection.

Such problems will be eliminated for farmers opting for electronic reporting, as holding registers can be automatically updated.

More details on this option are available, with no obligation, on the SouthWestern website at www.arams.co.uk.

Mrs Briggs adds: "NSA remains disappointed that Defra has decided to remove the non-EID slaughter option for English farmers, but this change does not come in until January 1, 2015, and you can continue to use non-EID tags until this date as Defra has accepted there will be a transition period during 2015 when not all lambs are yet electronically identified."

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