Be prepared when a Department of Agriculture inspector arrives on your farm, know your rights and have the correct information at hand.
Farm inspections are a requirement under EU regulations and farm scheme terms and conditions.
What will be inspected?
|Eligibility Inspection||Farm inspections are carried out to verify that you meet scheme eligibility requirements.
This includes land eligibility inspections, which check that areas declared correspond to the area you farm and to ensure no overlapping or duplicate claims.
Between 65-85% of land eligibility inspections will be carried out by remote sensing.
|Cross Compliance Inspection||Cross compliance farm inspections check that land is kept in Good Agricultural and Environment Conditions and that Statutory Management Requirements such as cattle and sheep IDs, nitrates, animal welfare, feed and food hygiene, etc. are adhered to.
The inspector is required to allow certain tolerances in respect of sheep and cattle ID and registration.
How much notice of Inspection will I get?
|Basic Payment||Land eligibility||Up to 14 days|
|Full Cross Compliance|
|Food, Feed Hygiene, TSE & Animal Welfare||No Notice|
|Pig/Cattle/Sheep/Goat ID and Registration||Up to 48 hours|
|All other SRMs & GAEC||Up to 14 days|
|Greening||Greening requirements||Up to 14 days|
|ANCs||Land Eligibility||Up to 14 days|
|Young Farmer Scheme||Eligibility||Up to 14 days|
|Beef Data and Genomics||Eligibility||Up to 14 days|
|Knowlege Transfer||Eligiblity||Up to 14 days|
|TAMS||Eligibiity||Up to 48 hours|
|GLAS||Compliance with GlAS commitments||No notice|
|AEOS||Compliance with AEOS requirements||No notice|
How should I prepare for an Inspection?
- Be on your farm and available to co-operate with your inspector.
- Return the fairness and respect showed by the inspector.
- Have the relevant documents at hand to supply the inspector with.
- Co-operate with the inspector.
- Follow any guidelines that need to be changed if non-compliance occurs.
- Cattle penning, in a secure cattle crush, will only be necessary when problems are identified.
- Sheep penning will be required for a sample of the flock.
What to expect from your Inspection?
The Charter of Farmers Rights sets out a range of principles that should apply during farm inspections. Some are highlighted below, but the full list is available in the Charter of Farmers Rights.
- At the start of the inspection, the Inspector should introduce himself or herself and provide ID. If you cannot be there, you can be represented by another person of your choice.
- The inspecting officer will provide an inspection notice information, explain the nature of the inspections and, if possible, how selection was made (i.e. risk vs random).
- Inspections will normally start at the main holding.
- If the inspector cannot locate anyone on the farm when they arrive to complete an unannounced inspection they will leave and return another day. On their second visit, should nobody be present, the inspection officer will ring the applicant and proceed to conduct the inspection.
- Flexibility will be given for the inspection to be rescheduled where there is serious illness, bereavement or other good reason.
- There will be a clear separation between announced and unannounced inspections. Inspections may be combined but all no-notice inspections will be separate to notice inspections unless the farmer requests otherwise.
- On the day of the visit, you will be provided with a preliminary inspection report which will include a preliminary notice of findings. The farmer / representative of the farmer, though not obliged to, will be given the opportunity to sign the report. The farmer / representative of the farmer will also be given the opportunity to comment on the preliminary inspection report. Any comments will be noted in the report. If the farmer chooses to sign this report it doesn’t prejudice his position in respect of any penalties that may arise.
Top 5 reasons for breach of Cross Compliance, as identified by Teagasc.
Teagasc has identified the Top 5 reasons for breach of Cross Compliance Inspections – be sure you have these covered.
|Good Agricultural & Environmental Conditions (GEAC)||
Unhappy with your Inspection?
If you are unhappy about how the inspection was carried out, you can make a complaint by writing directly to the Department of Agriculture Quality Service Unit.
You also have a right to seek a review of or to appeal a decision.
When an appeal or a review of the inspection is received, an internal review is carried out within the payment section. If the internal review does not resolve the situation to your satisfaction you can appeal to the Agriculture Appeals Office (AAO) – an independent statutory agency. This appeal must be lodged within three months – see www.agriappeals.gov.ie.
If at the end of the appeals process you feel your case has not been dealt with to your satisfaction, you can seek the assistance of the Office of the Ombudsman.
Familiarise Yourself with some Inspection Terms
- Randomly selected inspection: Your farm is one of 20% to 25% of cases that were randomly selected from the entire population.
- Risk inspection: Your farm was inspected because on relevant and effective risk regulations set out by the Department of Agriculture.
- Remote sensing: A technique used where recent images captured by satellites are used to confirm the land area cover.
- Eligibility: having the right to obtain something after satisfying certain conditions.
- Non-Compliance: Failure to act in accordance to a condition or command.
- Cross-Compliance: A system where you follow a variety of regulations in order to receive payment with the single payment scheme.