I don’t know where to start with this one. If, like us, you buy cow’s milk from a producer i.e. a farmer, then the buyer must become an Approved Purchaser with the Rural Payments Agency. This only applies to cow’s milk and not to goat or ewe’s milk and is tied up with the Common Agricultural Policy.
As a result of the UK being a part of the EU, we are bound up by a whole raft of insanity concerning milk quotas. This necessitates the UK to make consolidated returns showing how much milk was produced and the average % butterfat and protein content.
I had to complete two sets of forms, ably assisted by a very nice man at the RPA called Andrew. Then a couple of weeks ago, a man called up wanting to visit us the next day to be sure that we were a ‘real business’. Somewhat perplexed, I asked him how he would know that we were a real business over and above talking to me and he couldn’t really explain. He duly came the next day and he was very nice and as he supped a brew and had a biscuit, I asked him if he could explain why he was with us. He said that he wanted to be sure that we could maintain adequate records.
The records consist of me sending a milk sample to a lab once a month to be tested for the aforementioned butterfat and protein %s. I have to pay for this. Then I receive a form from the RPA on which I have to enter these two figures. Then I receive another form which charges me a levy at 0.06p per litre which I have to deduct from my monthly milk bill and pay over to the RPA. The whole thing is ridiculously time consuming and will be abandoned in 2015 when milk quotas are scrapped. What a palaver!