Cross-com­pli­ance with dig­i­tal support

Enti­tle­ment to income aid in com­pli­ance with pro­vi­sions of the Euro­pean Union (EU): What is meant by cross com­pli­ance (CC) in agri­cul­ture can be briefly described. The require­ments cov­er spe­cif­ic areas such as envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, human, ani­mal and plant health as well as ani­mal wel­fare. It is impor­tant to know that the EU sets par­tic­u­lar­ly high stan­dards. Agri­cul­tur­al pay­ments offer incen­tives to meet these stan­dards. At the same time, they cre­ate a com­pen­sa­tion for high­er pro­duc­tion costs incurred in the EU com­pared with oth­er coun­tries. The link­ing of agri­cul­tur­al pay­ments to stan­dards was legal­ly estab­lished by the EU in 2003 with the intro­duc­tion of cross-com­pli­ance. The reg­u­la­tion No. 1306/2013 togeth­er with the imple­men­ta­tion pro­vi­sions of the indi­vid­ual mem­ber states gov­erns which pro­vi­sions are rel­e­vant. In the case of Ger­many, this con­cerns the agri­cul­tur­al pay­ment oblig­a­tion act and the agri­cul­tur­al pay­ment com­mit­ment regulation.

Cross-com­pli­ance linked to agri­cul­tur­al pay­ments of the EU Com­mon Agri­cul­tur­al Pol­i­cy: But what is being checked?

For agri­cul­tur­al busi­ness­es, cross-com­pli­ance has a real impact on prac­tice. Every year, around five per cent will check whether they com­ply with the reg­u­la­tions and receive EU funds. A check can affect any­one who has sub­mit­ted a mul­ti­ple appli­ca­tion. But what is being checked? What proof must be read­i­ly available?

In order to receive income sup­port, agri­cul­tur­al busi­ness­es must fol­low a num­ber of basic rules. These rules relate to the “statu­to­ry man­age­ment require­ments” (SMR) as well as the “good agri­cul­tur­al and envi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions” (GAEC). The SMR must be com­plied with regard­less of whether aid aids are obtained with­in the frame­work of the Com­mon Agri­cul­tur­al Pol­i­cy (CAP). These include reg­u­la­tions on pub­lic health, ani­mal health, plant health, ani­mal wel­fare and envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. In addi­tion, the reg­u­la­tions in the GAEC area have to be com­plied with for the aid as part of the CAP. Reduc­ing soil ero­sion, pre­vent­ing the removal of land­scape ele­ments, green­ing areas tak­en out of pro­duc­tion and pro­tect­ing water bod­ies – these are a few of the goals.

The type of proof to be pre­sent­ed dur­ing a check depends on the type of farm­ing man­age­ment. In addi­tion to the advi­so­ry rec­om­men­da­tions for nitro­gen fer­til­i­sa­tion, these are usu­al­ly the test results of the farm­yard manure used from exter­nal farms (e.g. bio­gas fer­men­ta­tion residues), the nutri­ent com­par­i­son (deter­mi­na­tion of fer­tilis­er require­ments and mate­r­i­al flow bal­ance), the soil analy­ses for phos­phate for all field plots over one hectare (not old­er than six years), the cer­tifi­cate of com­pe­tence in crop pro­tec­tion and the crop pro­tec­tion records.

The list shows that the oblig­a­tion to pro­vide proof is asso­ci­at­ed with a great deal of doc­u­men­ta­tion effort. In the event of errors, neg­li­gence or incom­plete­ness of doc­u­ments, there is a risk of penal­ties, which are deter­mined by the inspec­tors accord­ing to sever­i­ty, extent and dura­tion – with the con­se­quence that agri­cul­tur­al pay­ments can be reduced. The list also shows that the oblig­a­tion to pro­vide proof can­not (any longer) eas­i­ly be met with a piece of paper and a pen, par­tic­u­lar­ly as the require­ments are like­ly to increase. The ques­tion is: What con­tri­bu­tion can digi­ti­sa­tion con­tribute to make the work eas­i­er, safer and more efficient?

Documentation of agricultural work processes

Cross-com­pli­ance with dig­i­tal agriculture

In the digi­ti­sa­tion of agri­cul­ture, the work­ing real­i­ty of farm­ers must be cen­tre stage. The ques­tion is how they can be sup­port­ed in order to bet­ter cope with their dai­ly chal­lenges. Com­pli­ance and doc­u­men­ta­tion are spe­cif­ic top­ics that are at the top of the list.

The fact of the mat­ter is that agri­cul­ture is already one of the lead­ing eco­nom­ic sec­tors in terms of automa­tion and digi­ti­sa­tion in many areas. More and more farm­ers are see­ing them­selves as yard man­agers with a smart­phone and tablet. They use digi­ti­sa­tion to pro­tect nat­ur­al resources with crop pro­tec­tion and using fer­tilis­er effi­cient­ly. With dig­i­tal sup­port, they opti­mise oper­at­ing process­es, make agri­cul­ture more cost effi­cient and thus more competitive.

In doing so, work is chal­leng­ing in agri­cul­ture: it is not work­ing by the clock; rather, it is sub­ject to mete­o­ro­log­i­cal fac­tors and grow­ing sea­sons. Many mea­sures occur simul­ta­ne­ous­ly or in an imme­di­ate chrono­log­i­cal sequence, on sep­a­rate fields, with dif­fer­ent machines and means. Every har­vest year is dif­fer­ent and not “stan­dard­ised”. And through it all, the oblig­a­tion to pro­vide proof must be ful­filled. This is pre­cise­ly where digi­ti­sa­tion comes in. It is a sim­ple and effi­cient tool, with mea­sures such as fer­til­is­ing being record­ed reli­ably: What funds were used where, when, by whom and in what amount? Using such dig­i­tal solu­tions, doc­u­men­ta­tion can be eas­i­ly and com­plete­ly auto­mat­ed and direct­ly done dur­ing the mea­sure. Sim­ply dri­ve off, and check and con­firm the cor­re­spond­ing book­ing after the mea­sure, and every­thing is stored in a sys­tem­at­ic way. Thanks to this auto­mat­ed doc­u­men­ta­tion, var­i­ous mea­sures can be ver­i­fied reli­ably, com­plete­ly and with lit­tle time spent.

Dig­i­tal agri­cul­ture and auto­mat­ed doc­u­men­ta­tion are there­fore also impor­tant dri­vers towards trans­paren­cy, cli­mate and envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. These are cen­tral con­cerns of cross-com­pli­ance in a more sus­tain­able Euro­pean agri­cul­ture. This is an advan­tage that also works to ben­e­fit an increas­ing­ly crit­i­cal con­sumer pub­lic. It should not be over­looked that digi­ti­sa­tion facil­i­tates the work for the CC inspectors.

Cross-com­pli­ance with 365FarmNet



The free basic ver­sion already meets all require­ments of the nec­es­sary doc­u­men­ta­tion, with the field map­ping ser­vice, the basic weath­er and the CC check for crop pro­tec­tion and greening.

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