UFU: DAERA must find inheritance solution

Victor Chestnutt, UFU president
Victor Chestnutt, UFU president

Ulster Farmers’ Union, deputy president, Victor Chestnutt, says a solution must be found for bereaved families facing difficulties with DAERA’s policy on the inheritance of herd and flock numbers.

He describes the current approach as “extremely inflexible” and says it is causing unnecessary complications for farm families.

A number of years ago DAERA adopted a policy that has prevented the family of a deceased sole trader from inheriting the herd and flock numbers on the farm. Instead DAERA forces bereaved families to go through the process of setting up new business IDs, herd and flock numbers.

Victor Chestnutt, UFU deputy president

“A number of years ago DAERA adopted a policy that has prevented the family of a deceased sole trader from inheriting the herd and flock numbers on the farm. Instead DAERA forces bereaved families to go through the process of setting up new business IDs, herd and flock numbers,” says Mr Chestnutt.

The UFU says this has created many problems for families already going through difficult times while trying to keep businesses going after a bereavement.

It says DAERA needs to accept this, and review its approach.

“Many of these herd and flock numbers have been in existence for a long time. They are linked with industry programmes such as Farm Quality Assurance and the BVD eradication scheme.

“These rely on accurate and reliable data being transferred from APHIS so that the value and the health status of the livestock on these farms can be maintained,” says Mr Chestnutt.

The UFU says the frustrating and confusing process DAERA uses brings risks of livestock temporarily losing their quality assured and BVD status, through no fault of the families in this situation.

“Cattle may also end up ‘out of spec’ because DAERA’s approach adds residencies to cattle that have not moved premises,” said the UFU deputy president.

The UFU says this is ‘entirely unnecessary bureaucracy’ that creates stress and costs at a time when families are ill-equipped to cope.

“I would challenge DAERA to see some sense on this matter and bring forward a solution to help families at their most difficult time, when the last thing they need is more red tape,” says Mr Chestnutt.