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A change in the law means farmers must now provide photo identification before they purchase ammonium nitrate fertiliser this autumn. The law change  came into... Photo ID rule to buy fertiliser this autumn

A change in the law means farmers must now provide photo identification before they purchase ammonium nitrate fertiliser this autumn.

The law change  came into effect on 1 October.  It affects sales of AN fertilisers with a nitrogen content of 16% or more and represents a widening of the Control of Poisons and Explosives Precursors Regulations 2023.”

Threshold 

The NFU says the requirement applies to compounds, blends and mixtures such as NPK fertilisers that exceed the AN threshold regardless of the overall nitrogen content. It will also apply to CAN (Calcium Ammonium Nitrate) and potassium nitrate.

In an advice note issued to farmers, the NFU suggests the photo ID doesn’t need to be a passport or driving licence. But it says purchases will involve recording the type of business and a VAT number if applicable.

“At this stage, we don’t believe you’ll have to present photo ID in person – sending via email, text or another app will suffice – as long as it matches the name of the person placing the order or account holder.

“The ID provided can be of anyone in the farm business who is tasked with making the purchase, and verification will be kept on record and will need to be updated every 18 months in the case of professional users, or if there is a change to a usual order.”

Concerns

The NFU says it raised concerns that the new rule mustn’t be a barrier to ordering fertiliser at a time when the market is in flux. “We’ve had assurances that there should be no requirement to provide the ID to place the order – it can be sent afterwards.”

If there are multiple people in a farm business, it should only need one person to provide the ID, says the NFU. Purchases on behalf of a group mean a photo ID could be required by the merchant for someone from the farm where the fertiliser will be delivered.

“As there are many and varied scenarios where this could apply, we cannot give comprehensive examples of how this will work. But if someone is seeking to buy fertiliser on behalf of others, the key test is likely to be who is acquiring the fertiliser on delivery.”

The photo ID will be kept on file by the merchant in accordance with their data security and storage policies, says the NFU. All standard data protection and legal requirements for the safe storage of your personal data will apply, it adds.