A NEW Charter of Rights for farmers is the ideal opportunity for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to introduce a more commonsense approach to inspections for the single farm payment and other farm schemes, Irish Farmers Association president, Pádraig Walshe, has claimed.
He said a new and more acceptable protocol for farm inspections must be agreed and be part of the Common Agricultural Policy Health Check.
Mr Walshe, speaking at a meeting between the IFA and the department on a new Charter of Rights for farmers, said the current regime of on-the-spot inspections is impractical and grossly unfair to farmers. He also said the excessive penalty regime is unacceptable and that reasonable tolerances must be put in place.
Mr Walshe said now is the opportunity for Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith and the department to introduce 14 days advance notice for all farm inspections.
Reasonable tolerances are necessary and must be in place across all schemes as the farm is a working environment. He said attempts by the department to roll back on earlier commitments on tolerances in the last Charter of Rights are totally unacceptable to farmers.
Mr Walsh said the department must approach the negotiations with a view to simplifying and reducing the bureaucratic cross-compliance burden on farms. He said proposals to add new compliance standards in the CAP Health Check cannot be contemplated.
The IFA leader said between the CAP Health Check and the new charter, a more acceptable system to farmers can be put in place.
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