Farm inspections and Cross Compliance requirements are not new for farmers, but some simple steps taken at farm level can reduce the anxiety associated with DAFM inspections.
To help farmers make the right decisions on their farms in relation to Cross Compliance, Teagasc has organised 58 cross compliance information meetings around the country which commenced on Monday, November 14.
Farm inspections in relation to Cross Compliance are ongoing and can take place on any farm, at any time during the year. Farmers are obliged to comply with Cross Compliance Regulations and maintain their land in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition. Failure to comply with cross compliance requirements could lead to penalties being applied to direct payments.
Speaking at the Teagasc information meetings, Tim Hyde, Environment Specialist with Teagasc said: “Farmers need to gather as much information as possible on the best methods on farms to avoid a cross compliance penalty.”
These meetings will address the areas below, which if implemented at farm level, will help farmers avoid penalties:
· What happens during a DAFM inspection?
· Top 5 problem areas on farms - Nitrates, cattle, sheep, pesticide and single farm payment advice.
· What records need to be kept and how to keep them?
· What farmers need to do on their farms to comply with the regulations?
· The new EIA on land drainage and reclamation regulations.
Teagasc has observed an increased level of inspections amongst farmers over the past few months. “There seems to be a higher number of farmers receiving penalties on the SFP, DAS and REPS due to these inspections.,” Mr Hyde commented.
· 15 - 20% of farmers inspected are penalised.
· Average penalty/farm is €650.
· 20-25% of inspections are selected at random.
· 50% of inspections take place from September to December each year.
Attendance at these cross compliance information meetings will give farmers a better understanding of Farm Inspections; and will provide tips and ideas on farming practices that will reduce the possibility of penalties to direct payments.
See www.teagasc.ie for list of venues and dates.