The ten-month rule

by 5m Editor
7 August 2004, at 12:00am

UK - There appears to be some degree of confusion over the “10-month rule“ whereby, to trigger entitlements on a piece of land, a farmer must show that the parcel of land is “at his disposal for 10 months“.


National Pig Association

NPA is active on members' behalf in Brussels & Whitehall, and with processors, supermarkets & caterers - fighting for the growth and pros-perity of the UK pig industry.

In an attempt to introduce some flexibility into this it has been confirmed by Defra that the 10-month qualifying period can start at any time within the window of 1 October in the year preceding the claim to 30 April in the year of the claim.

If no such starting date is specified by the farmer then a default date of 1 February will be used.

One of the biggest potential remaining problems, however, is that only one start date will be allowed per holding.

Therefore, where different crops and perhaps outdoor pigs are produced on rented land on the same holding, it could well be that a start date that suits one enterprise will not necessarily suit another.

And whilst several agents and solicitors are confident that agreements can be drawn up to cover the situation, producers on rented land or renting out land are, therefore, recommended to take advice before entering into an agreement.

Similarly if producers on rented land are getting messages back from their landlords that they are not prepared to let land because of the confusion they should perhaps suggest that there are ways and means apparently being found to work round the problem.

Either way it is a case of knowing exactly what the situation is. NPA members who are also members of NFU, (i.e. most) will find the NFU Call First team very helpful on this issue. They can be contacted on 0870 845 8458 but have your NFU membership number to hand.


Although NFU is lobbying Defra to ensure all arable land in 2005 can be used for set-aside, there is currently an additional restriction on where a farmer can site the set-aside. In the absence of Defra seeking to derogate from EU regulation, a set-aside entitlement can only be matched to arable etc land that qualified as such in 2003.

Put another way, one cannot use land that was in permanent crops, woodland, non-agricultural use or permanent pasture in 2003 to put set-aside on in 2005 or in the future, even though it may now be in a rotational arable crop. Therefore, current advice has to be to stick to arable land (new definition), but as it existed in 2003.

Source: Richard Longthorp - National Pig Association - 7th August 2004

5m Editor