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What Is a Stewardship Regime & How Do Farmers Comply?

Rowan Burgess |

Countryside Stewardship provides financial incentives for farmers to carry out environmental work and initiatives alongside food production. 

Farms can do this in many ways, from preserving strips of land on field headlands for wildlife, insects, and flowers to restoring old woodland or even creating new ones, but there are even more to consider. 

There are different regimes in Countryside Stewardship, and payment depends on compliance with the specific rules of the individual scheme. Failure to comply means a reduction in subsidies.

However, some regimes are compulsory, like the UK Rodenticide Stewardship Regime.

Why Do We Need Stewardship?

Countryside Stewardship incentivises farmers to develop enhanced environmental outcomes, including creating woodlands, restoring wildlife habitats, and managing flood risk.

Stewardship encourages and motivates farmers and land managers to follow sustainable and environmentally friendly practices on the farm. These schemes improve and enrich their local environment - as well as the wider global environment.

Countryside Stewardship seeks to balance food production demands and the natural environment. 

Where farming methods directly conflict with the environment, stewardship regimes actively control and monitor agricultural practices to protect flora and fauna.

It’s a constantly moving picture as products and processes alter, technology leads to new developments, and we understand more about the natural world. Stewardship is there to keep an ever-watchful eye.

What Is the UK Rodenticide Stewardship Regime?

Launched in July 2015, the UK Rodenticide Stewardship Regime controls all rodenticide products sold and used by professionals. 

This includes farmers, land managers, and gamekeepers working outside a building and in an open area.

Residues are sometimes found in non-target wildlife species and pets because Rodenticide products contain anticoagulants. Indeed, non-target species may die from accidentally ingesting these chemicals.

The Rodenticide Stewardship Regime aims to control the use of first and second-generation anticoagulant products to protect non-target species. 

At the inception of the Regime, the government set specific targets. This includes a requirement that there should be a significant reduction in the exposure of the sentinel species - in this case, the barn owl.

The barn owl is a sentinel species because of its diet of small rodents and the availability of historical data before the Regime began. Rodenticides have been detected in the livers of barn owl carcasses for a long time.

CRUU, the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use, devised the Code of Practice and coordinated the Stewardship Regime.

How Do Farmers Comply With the Rodenticide Stewardship Regime?

All professional users of rodenticide products must now show proof of competence before being allowed to buy and use them. 

The Regime includes the agricultural sector, a step welcomed by the National Farmers Union (NFU).

There are several different elements to complying with the regulations.

Enrol in an Appropriate Training Course

The Campaign approves several courses in the professional pest control sector for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRUU). 

Passing the course exam provides certification allowing the purchase of professional use rodenticides. Qualified individuals have the official ‘proof of competence’ to use a rodenticide product within the regulations.

If you are a farmer and a member of a CRUU UK-aligned farm assurance scheme, showing proof of this membership at the point of sale will allow you to purchase professional use rodenticides with stewardship conditions.

Completing Declarations

Retailers of professional rodenticide products may require the completion of a declaration at the counter, even with certification. This records the identity of the purchaser and the farm.

Storage of Rodenticide and Usage

Securely store your rodenticide products in an appropriate location and use them under the manufacturer’s instructions and the Code of Practice.

I’m not able to get certification. Can I still purchase rat bait?

Yes, you can still purchase rat bait. There are a range of products available for public use that are safe for both human and animal handling. They’re also weather-resistant to ensure efficacy in both dry and wet areas. 

Discover the range of rodent control products Dalton offers the public and get any rodent problems controlled on your property.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use UK?

The Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use (CRUU) coordinates the Rodenticide Stewardship Regime. CRUU promotes the safe use of rodenticides through a Code of Practice to protect wildlife and other non-target animals. They aim to increase awareness of the risks and ensure best practices amongst professional users.

Final Thoughts

Farmers are custodians of the natural world for future generations. Stewardship schemes aim to align modern farming methods with protecting the local and global environment.

Each Stewardship Regime works differently, but they all share the common principle of enhancing the natural world alongside modern farming.

Buying rodenticide products for professional use has changed, and staying within the regulations is essential. Dalton Engineering offers a range of rodent control products for all types of farms, plus advice and guidance on safe usage.