Found this on the DEFRA website which sheds a bit of light on the problems they were having a year ago (search for mapping) and this extract from a debate in the House of Lords (they know a bit about farming and subsidies) on They Work for You
There is a great comment on the Guardian Comment is Free blog. I loved this bit
“The most bizarre sagas involved the new mapping system introduced for the single farm payment subsidy. The idea was that every corner of England would be mapped – muck heaps, field margins, hedgerows, ditches: the whole lot would be relevant. In the age of satnav, such a thing seemed entirely plausible. But somewhere between the bright idea and its implementation, it went badly wrong and farmers were jamming call centres to try and work out how fields had appeared or disappeared, how muck heaps grew 10 times in size or got lost – it was a computerised landscape which had little relation to reality. Meanwhile sixth formers were among the thousands of temporary workers drafted into the Rural Payments Agency to cope with the flood of angry frustrated inquiries.”
The bit in italics sounds like a spec for MasterMap!