He said farmers need the EU to develop a policy that will deliver an income to farmers to allow investment in farm infrastructure, including farm safety and labour saving technologies.
Adding to the bureaucratic load of farmers was not the answer, he said.
Mr Comer was responding to “seemingly contradictory” opinions expressed in media reports by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan on the possible linking of farm safety and cross compliance.
Mr Comer said the suggestion farm payments be dependent on further inspections would add another layer of stress to the farmer’s schedule.
“The idea that the way to instil a safety consciousness in farmers is to increase regulation is absolutely self-defeating and would, in my opinion, have exactly the opposite effect to that intended,” said Mr Comer.
“Every single rational observer knows that one of the key factors in farm accidents is the fact that for a full-time dairy farmer the workload is absolutely massive and the likelihood that the farm is a one-person operation has never been higher.”
He said workload, stress, and time pressures are causes of farm accidents and deaths — not the solution. He said direct payments are already subject to onerous cross-compliance and conditional upon inspection.
“It is genuinely mystifying to farmers that we have this idea repeated that the time-pressures generated by workload and inspection can be alleviated by even more inspections. This idea is contradictory and illogical,” stated Mr Comer.