01 Mar 2024

Farmers urged to guard against fertiliser theft and dangerous storage ahead of busy spring season


With poor weather hampering efforts to deliver essential nutrients to crops, the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) is urging farmers to be vigilant against the risks of fertiliser theft and follow safe handling and secure storage advice.

Nitrogen-based fertilisers are at risk of being used in criminal activities such as terrorism, posing a serious threat to the public if products were to fall into the wrong hands.

Anyone handling these products has a responsibility to store them securely and be vigilant against safety risks.

AIC runs the Fertiliser Industry Assurance Scheme (FIAS) which provides an assurance system to ensure that the security, safety and traceability of fertilisers meet the robust safety requirements of the Government and industry.

Roberta Reeve, AIC Services Technical Manager, said: "As farmers gear up for what may prove to be a hectic spring application window because of poor weather, it's vital that they don't forget their responsibility to keep fertilisers safe and secure at all times.

"By following the simple guidance on the storing and handling of fertiliser, farmers and growers will help to deter thieves and protect the public and the environment from harm."

Fertiliser safety advice

The following advice is supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the National Farmers Union (NFU).

Safe storage
  1. Wherever possible, use a Fertiliser Industry Assurance Scheme (FIAS) approved supplier.

  2. Wherever possible, keep fertiliser in a secure place away from public view, such as a locked building or sheeted area.

  3. Carry out regular stock checks and report any loss to the Police immediately by calling 101.

  4. Avoid leaving fertiliser in a field overnight, and never leave fertiliser in a field for a longer period of time.

Reselling surpluses
  • It is illegal to resell ammonium nitrate fertiliser without the correct documentation - farmers are encouraged to report any suspicious sales activity to the Police by calling 101, and to the Home Office via its web reporting tool.
  • Never advertise fertiliser for resale on auction sites, local and trade magazines, or social media. In particular, social media posts advertising surplus fertiliser stock for sale with pictures of product and storage locations significantly heighten a farm's security risk and attract the unwanted attention of criminals.
  • Find further guidance on the GOV.UK website.

For more information on safe fertiliser storage and handling, read the five-point plan for fertiliser security on the National Counter Terrorism Office (NaCTSO) website, visit the FIAS pages of AIC's website, and watch the videos below.

Notes for editors

The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) is the UK’s leading agricultural supply trade association, representing agricultural supply chain sectors including arable marketing, crop protection, agronomy, feed, fertiliser, and seed. 

Formed in 2003, AIC has over 230 Members in the agri-supply trade which are responsible for £17.8 billion of annual farm trade.

Political lobbying and policy influencing is a major part of its work, as well as supporting Members with technical information.  

AIC Services, which is the professional services arm of the AIC, manages a range of services, including Assurance Schemes recognised by the UK Government as essential tools to underpin feed and food safety alongside fertiliser security. These include:  

Visit the AIC website to find out more.

Press contact 

Oli Hill, Communications Manager, AIC 
+44 (0)1733 385230
[email protected]