New Service Charter Must Remove Fear and Stress From Farm Inspections – IFA

Speaking in advance of the 2012 Single Farm Payment application, IFA Deputy
President Eddie Downey said the fear factor and stress imposed on farm
families over inspections must be removed. He said the IFA is demanding a
New Service Charter to cover farm inspections and all aspects of direct

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 and it is no longer acceptable that inspectors can just walk
into farmyards unannounced. The dignity and rights of farmers must be
protected under the inspection process.”

The IFA Deputy President said farmers have adopted new technology with more
than half of all Single Farm Payment applications now done online. He said
the inspection regime needs to change and the fear and stress for farmers
must be eliminated from the regime with the adoption of a more farmer
friendly customer service approach.

Eddie Downey said the entire inspection process needs to be simplified and
streamlined in an efficient and more farmer friendly manner. He said
currently farm inspections are extremely complex and bureaucratic with a
full inspection similar to a forensic examination involving hundreds of
questions, many of which are incomprehensible. He said the Department’s
checklist for inspections goes way beyond any reasonable interpretation of
the EU regulations.

The IFA Deputy President said IFA is demanding a new farmer friendly
Service Charter to cover all farm inspections and include the following
basic principles;

– Delivery of all payments across all schemes on time within
agreed deadlines

– Fair and reasonable advance notice of inspections for all schemes

– The provision of proper information and awareness to each farmer
by the Department

– Better co-ordination and elimination of duplication of
inspections by different bodies

– Inspections cannot be allowed delay payments

– Early, fast and efficient resolution of problems to ensure
payments are not delayed

– Reasonable tolerance levels providing farmers with the
opportunity to achieve compliance

– Elimination of excessive penalties

– Independent and fair appeals procedure

Eddie Downey said with direct payments making up such a major portion of
net farm income on most farms, payments delays and an intolerable fear of
being selected for inspection are no longer acceptable. He said Minister
Coveney must ensure that the system is changed for the better.

Eddie Downey said the IFA has written to the Minister requesting that
negotiations on a New Service Charter commence immediately and are
concluded before the land eligibility and other major inspections proceed
this year.

Comments are closed.