Select Committee on Agriculture Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Embassy of Finland (H 12)



Organisations and their role with animal registration system in Finland

  Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is the competent authority in charge of: I&R-systems of animals (Veterinary and Food Department) and Support schemes (Department of Agriculture). Information Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (TIKE) offers technical services for MAF. It manages most of the IT-systems of MAF (but not bovine database). Agricultural Data Processing Centre Ltd (ADPC) is a private company owned by several agricultural organisations and companies. It manages the technical operation of bovine database, under supervision of MAF. It also manages registers of advisory service (milk recording system etc).

History of bovine database in Finland

  Finland made the decision to join EU in November 1994. The work to create bovine database was started right after that. The first bovines were registered in February and major part of the bovines were tagged and registered in May 1995. Practically all bovines (also the old ones) were tagged and registered by the end of 1995. It was possible to do the work so fast, because the bovine database was based on the already existing production control database. National legislation on bovine I&R-system was given in March 1995 and revised in 1999. In June 1995 ADPC published first version of Elmer PC-program, which the farmers can use to manage their herd information in bovine database.

Current figures

  The number of active herds is 31,000 and it is decreasing slowly. Number of alive animals is 1.1 million and the total number of animals is about 3 million. There are 400,000 calves born each year and the total number of transaction (notifications of births, buying and selling) is about 1.1 million/year.

Data input to the register

  Data input is done by keepers, advisors, abattoirs and animal traders. The keepers can use following ways to input data: form sent in by mail or fax, phone call to live operator, telephone (automatic VRS-system), Internet and PC-program. Half of the keepers' transactions come through the automatic systems. Advisors use mainly PC-program. Abattoirs and animal traders can use forms, PC-program or FTP-transfer from their own IT-system.

Reports to keepers

  All the keepers receive a complete list of all animals (official record) once a year and always when they receive new eartags. The keepers also receive a list of transactions every other month. The idea of this is to give the keepers more up to date information regarding their herd information in the register. In addition to the actual list of transactions (all attempts of submitting information to the register) there are two other parts: list of animals in the herd during the period and list of failed transactions and incomplete data in the database (points out the things to be corrected).

The cost of registration

  Keeper pays 22 FIM (3.7 Euro) per cow. This includes registering the cow, updating the information in the database when needed, two eartags (Allflex, France) and free eartag replacements (if the original was lost).

Utilisation of the bovine database in support scheme management

  Currently the bovine database is used in support scheme management in following ways:

  1.  Cross-checks for support schemes. All the suckler cow and special premium animals are checked against the bovine database in following respects: is animal registered, is age of the animal correct, is sex of the animal correct, is breed of the animal correct and has the animal been on the holding for the whole retention period.

  2.  In the slaughter premium (EU) the eligible animals are selected from the bovine database. Farmer does not need to indicate the animals on the application form. He/she just registers as an applicant. The eligible animal has to meet following conditions: the animal is registered properly by the keeper, keeper has made selling notification and abattoir has made slaughter notification to the database.

  3.  The animal density in the extensification premium (EU) is calculated using the information in the bovine database. Farmers receive a calculation of the number of animal units in their herd every other month as a part of the list of transactions.

  4.  National aid for alive bulls and heifers and slaughtered bovines is calculated from the bovine database.

  For the next year (2001) Finland is considering following new ways of utilising bovine database in support scheme management:

  1.  Prefilled suckler cow premium application forms. The eligible animals would be selected from the database and their information would be printed to the application forms. These forms would then be sent to the farmers. From the prefilled list the farmer would select the cows he/she wants the premium for and add any other animals (in case he/she has new, not yet registered cows in the herd).

  2.  Special premium paid on the bases of slaughter information in the bovine database.


General Information

Scheme timetable:

    —  Instructions and application forms are prepared in February-March.

    —  Application forms returned to the municipalities during June.

    —  Retention periods end during December.

    —  Advance payment of 60 per cent is paid in February-March (the following year) and the rest is paid by the end of June.

Statistics 1999

No of claims 1,511

No of animals 27,415

  Organisations and abbreviations:

    —  MAFF/SP  Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Unit for Support Policy, process owner.

    —  TIKE/DM  MAFF Information Centre, Data Management Section, manages the IACS central register and IACS Municipality program.

    —  TIKE/FM  MAFF Information Centre, Financial Management Section, handles the payments.

    —  EEDC  Employment and Economic Development Centres (16 regional organisations), do the on-the-spot controls.

    —  Municipality  There are about 450 municipalities which receive the application forms, record the application and control data, and make decision of the amount to be paid.

    —  SCP  Suckler Cow Premium.

Process step Measures

Information and guidance

MAFF/SP prepares instructions and application forms and sends them to the 450 municipalities and also directly to the farmers who have applied for the SCP before (1.).

Farmer fills in the form and returns it to the municipality (2.).

Data capture

Municipalities receive the forms, make pre-entry checks and give or send receipt to the farmers (3.). Retention period is indicated on the receipt.

If mistakes are found in the pre-entry check there are two options:

  in case of obvious error municipality contacts the farmer;

  in other cases the application is sanctioned the normal way.

The data from the forms are entered in the IACS municipality program. (4.)

Municipalities send the recorded data to the IACS central register. (5.)


MAFF/SP prepares instructions to the controllers (done yearly).

MAFF/SP organises controller training (done yearly).

MAFF/SP defines the random sampling parameters based on a risk analysis, and commissions the control procedure, which includes the pre-defined cross checks. (8.)

TIKE/DM receives the definitions, carries out a control sampling and runs crosschecks (9.) MAFF/SP accepts or rejects the sampling and crosscheck results. In the event of rejection, MAFF/SP makes the definitions once again.

After the data have been accepted, TIKE/DM prepares control lists and prefilled control-protocols (10.), which are sent to the EEDCs by MAFF/SP.

Municipalities put payment block on the applications on the control list.

EEDCs inform the farms about the on-the-spot controls usually one day before the control visit (max 48 hours before).

EEDC inspectors carry out the on-the-spot controls and write control reports, which are signed by the farmer and the inspector. The farmers receive a copy of the report. (11.)

Municipalities record the control data into municipality PC-program and send them to the IACS central register. (12.)

The correctness of the control data is technically checked by TIKE/DM (13.) before it is loaded to the IACS central register. (14.)

The correctness of the control data in IACs central register is checked by the EEDC inspectors (compared with the control reports). When needed, the municipalities are asked to make necessary corrections.

Control data are confirmed when no errors are found. (15.)

Municipalities remove the blocks on payments using municipality PC-program. (16.)

Processing claim and calculating payment

The data are checked in the IACS central register and the municipalities are informed about any non-correct data found. The municipalities have to correct the errors and re-send the messages when necessary. (6.)

When all the controls are done, MAFF/SP gives permission for payments.

After recording the control results, municipalities prepare payment messages and send them to IACS central register. To authorise the payment messages the municipalities send also telefax-messages to TIKE/FM. (18.)

The payment messages are filtered by TIKE/DM. Municipalities are requested to correct any errors found. Correct messages are sent to the TIKE/FM, where the payments are to be processed. (19.)

Making the payment

TIKE/DM sends farmers a notification of the payment (electronic letter, data is sent by wire to the company that prints and mails the letters). (20.)

Payments are made to the farmers by TIKE/FM.

Payment sums can be seen in the farmers' bank statements.

Aid decisions are made in the municipalities and the decision papers are sent to the farmers. (21.)

Accounting and reporting

Monthly declaration table 104 to Commission.

20 October 2000

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