16 Apr 2012
FARM INSPECTIONS MUST REMOVE FEAR AND STRESS – IFAUncategorized
IFA Deputy President Eddie Downey has said the fear factor and stress imposed on farm families over inspections must be removed.
Speaking at a packed IFA meeting in Carrick-on-Shannon on farm inspections, land eligibility and stocking rate criteria for Disadvantaged Areas, Eddie Downey said there is an unacceptable and constant level of stress and fear among farm families over the possibility of an inspector from the Department of Agriculture arriving in their yard, sometimes unannounced.
He said this level of anxiety and worry surrounding the inspection process is totally unacceptable. “Farmers are entitled to fair and reasonable procedures. Inspectors can just walk into farmyards unannounced. The dignity and rights of farmers must be protected under the inspection process.”
On the issue of land eligibility, Eddie Downey called for a reasonable approach by the Department of Agriculture in determining whether land can qualify for vital EU payments. Many farmers have had land excluded for no reason and this has a severe impact on their farm income.
In relation to the new stocking rate criteria for the Disadvantaged Areas, the IFA Deputy President called on Minister Simon Coveney to immediately notify farmers of the new rules, and to do so well in advance of the mid-May Single Farm Payment deadline.
Eddie Downey expressed serious concern about applying 2011 criteria of 0.3 livestock unit per hectare for the 2012 scheme. He said, “This rule is unfair, as farmers qualified last year at a lower 0.15 unit per hectare, and many farmers who reached these criteria last year will be ineligible for 2012 if the Minister persists with this rule change.” He called on the Minister to allow flexibilities to ensure that a proper appeals system is in place for this group of farmers.