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Wednesday, 25 April, 2001, 19:52 GMT 20:52 UK
Farmer's diary: Drowning in bureaucracy
Farmer Adam Quinney, writing for BBC News Online
Warwickshire farmer Adam Quinney gives BBC News Online his latest personal account of the economic impact of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

Normally at this time of year we would be busy planting our maize for cattle feed next winter, but the seed is still in the barn with no prospect of planting going ahead for the next few weeks.

This will have the effect of reducing yield and providing further headaches next winter when we start to feed our cattle and sheep.

The main hold-up, apart from the weather, has been the fact that we cannot spread our farmyard manure in the maize fields.

No water or power

Well, we could, but we would have to travel down a road to cart the muck - over 800 tonnes of it.

By the way, we do not use artificial fertiliser on maize crops.

Adam Quinney's farm
The fields have become a quagmire
The hassle of washing down the tractor and trailer as it leaves the cattle yard and then when it leaves the field makes the task next to impossible.

That we do not have a water or electricity supply at the field does not help.

We still have not heard anything from the Intervention Board (IB), a Maff offshoot, about when our animals are going on the welfare scheme.

A very nice woman from the IB telephones me regularly to tell me what a wonderful job the IB is doing, but cannot tell me when my stock are going, even though Maff have put me on the priority list.

Feedstocks are now so low, even with buying in an extra 50 tonnes last week, that unless animals start to leave the farm we will be running out of feed in the next 10 days.

Trampled cows

If our marketing of stock had happened as planned in March, we would have plenty of feed even with this wet spring.


If this is the system for removing one cow, no wonder Devon is in such a mess

Adam Quinney
One of the cows that is trapped in the building away from home lost her footing and could not stand up.

She may have been bullied by some of the other cows.

We have had to pen up the cows and their calves to protect the calves from being trampled by the other cows; this has led to the pregnant cows being overcrowded.

So we had no choice but to have the cow put down for her own good.

This is when the hassle really started. First we had to ask the local Maff office for a licence - no problem.

Then we telephoned the IB and asked if we would still be compensated for this cow as it was entered under a welfare scheme.

Paperwork

No was the answer. We would receive one-third of the compensation value, but we would need to telephone the casualty help.

On telephoning the helpline and giving all the farm details again, even though I am registered with the intervention board, they then issued us with a reference number.

Adam Quinney's farm
Watching animals "go through hell"
The next step was to get my vet to look at the animal and fill in more paperwork, form OTM22.

Then, once the knacker man came to shoot the cow and take her away, I had to fill in the cow's passport, form OTM11 and the knacker man's paperwork.

On returning home, my farm records needed updating. The telephone calls and form filling took over two hours to complete.

If this is the system for removing one cow, no wonder Devon is in such a mess, dealing with the thousands of animals that they have shot.

'Appalling situation'

The Maff vet has made another patrol of the farm. He has just returned from Devon, and was appalled at the situation down there. With dead animals rotting in farm yards next to the farmers' homes, it must be dreadful.

We have had to watch our animals go through hell because of red tape and in-tray mentality. I worry each day about how I will be able to feed and care for my stock.

A balance has to be struck between what I would like to do and what I can afford.

I am well over my overdraft limit and have to find the money somehow to carry on.

So far we have spent thousands more than we had planned. To put some scale to the financial problem - the extra feed bill exceeds the last five years' profits.


Previous diaries from Adam Quinney:

  • 19 April: A close shave

  • 12 April: Rain, lambs and skylarks

  • 4 April: Tough decisions

  • 29 March: An Anxious wait

  • 22 March: Staring ruin in the face

  • 12 March: A farmer's fears

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