The National Farmers Union prevailed over the EU environment ministers' decision to keep smaller farms out of purview of the Integrated Pollution and Prevention Control directive, according to a report.

The victory has come after 18 months of lobbying on behalf of pig and poultry farmers.

NFU's contention has been that the controls for agriculture and horticulture were originally intended for larger power stations and industrial plants and the actual environmental benefits they would have provided. The proposed changes would have affected smaller farms, about 230 poultry units and 600 pig units. 

The second stage of IPPC EU negotiations is slated for later this year, with a reading in parliament to consider the EU environment ministers' position. A final agreement is expected in 2010.