You are here: Homepage > About Defra > Contact us > Food and farming questions

Food and farming questions


I want to start up a farming business. What help is available to me?

Information about starting up in farming and relevant regulations can be found on the Business Link website.

What funding is available for my agricultural business? 

Information on grants and funding for all business types including farming is available on the Business Link website

This website also includes a Business Support Finder, which allows you to search for potential sources of help with starting up, running or developing your business.

How do I apply for the Single Payment Scheme?

The Single Payment Scheme (SPS) is administered by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). 

Where can I find information on farm tenancies?

You can find information about farm tenancies on the Business Link website

I own a small holding / farm. Do I need to register my land?

You will need a County Parish Holding (CPH) number for the land where you will be carrying out agricultural activity or keeping livestock. To obtain a CPH number, you will need to contact the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) on 0845 6037777.

Further information about registering land can be found on the Business Link website

I own livestock. Do I need to register my animals?

You will need to register your livestock by contacting the Animal Health Divisional Office (AHDO) for your region.

If any of your details change, you must tell your AHDO within one month of the change.

Further information concerning movement, identification and tracing can be found on the Business Link website.

How do I import live animals / animal products into the UK?

Trade in the most seriously threatened species is prohibited and trade in other endangered species is controlled by the Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species (CITES). Detailed information about CITES import restrictions can be found on Directgov.

Imports of live animals and animal products are controlled to prevent the import of disease into England. Detailed information about disease related import restrictions can be found on the Business Link website.

Further information about importing animal products as part of international trade can be obtained from:

Animal Health Import Team
Animal Health Divisional Office
Beeches Road

Tel: 01245 454860
Fax: 01245 351162


A nearby field is infested with ragwort. Who can I report this to?

Under the Weeds Act 1959, it is not an offence for these weeds to be growing on land but they must not be allowed to spread to agricultural land, particularly to areas of grazing where livestock are at risk. If there is a threat to agriculture or livestock, the Act allows the Secretary of State to take statutory action to control the spread of the weeds.

Where an informal request to the owner of land to clear the weeds is unsuccessful, a weeds complaint form (WEED 2) should be completed and sent to your local Natural England Office.

I have a problem with a neighbour spreading slurry close to my property. Is this allowed?

The spreading of livestock waste material onto land is allowed. There are however certain steps that should be taken to ensure good agricultural practice is followed to minimise the environmental impact.

Farmers should also bear in mind that the spreading of manure can cause unpleasant odours. Under section 79 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, local authorities have a duty to take reasonably practicable steps to investigate complaints of various nuisances, including “any dust, steam, smell or other effluvia arising on industrial, trade or business premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance”.

If you wish to make a complaint, please contact your local authority. A list of local authorities can be found on Directgov.

I want to know about pesticides

Information about pesticides can be found on the Chemicals Regulation Directorate website

Where can I find up to date farming statistics?

Defra’s annual publication, ‘Agriculture in the United Kingdom’ provides an extensive range of data including farm incomes, land use, livestock numbers, prices, production of key commodities (e.g. wheat, milk, vegetables), overseas trade, organic farming, animal health and welfare and the environment. This publication can be found on the Agriculture in the United Kingdom page.

You can find other statistics on our website

If the website does not contain the information you are looking for, you can contact our statistics team directly by emailing: or by writing to:

Farming Statistics,
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,
Room 144,
Foss House,
1-2 Peasholme Green,
YO1 7PX.


I believe a food product is not clearly labelled. Who do I contact?

If you consider that you have bought something where the label is misleading, we advise you to contact your local Trading Standards Department. They are responsible for enforcing food law and will advise you how best to proceed. You can find their address by visiting the Trading Standards website and entering your postcode.

I am travelling from / to another EU country. Can I bring/take food with me?

Yes, the free movement of all food between EU Member States for personal use is permitted.

I am travelling to the UK from a country outside of the EU. Can I bring food with me?

In order to protect the UK against animal disease and plant pests, there are stricts restrictions on some personal food imports from countries outside of the EU.

Information on these restrictions can be found on our imports database.

Further information can be found on Directgov.

I am travelling to a country outside of the EU. Can I take food with me?

You are strongly advised to check with the authorities of the country you want to travel to, as only they can give you failsafe advice as to what constitutes an acceptable and legal import into their country.

A list of Embassies in the UK can be found on the FCO website.

I want to import/export fruit and/or vegetables commercially. Where can I find information about this?

Information and guidance on trading agricultural produce can be found on the  Business Link website.

I want to import meat into the UK commercially. Where can I find information about this?

You can find information on commercially importing meat and other products of animal origin into the UK on the Business Link website.

You should note that Animal Health (an executive agency of Defra) is responsible for imports of products of animal origin. If you need further information or advice, please contact Chelmsford Animal Health Office at:

Animal Health Import Team
Animal Health Divisional Office
Beeches Road
Tel: 01245 454860
Fax: 01245 351162

Page last modified: 31 December 2010