Getting set for on-farm Department inspections
Now that the applications for the single farm payment scheme are all in, attention turns to how to prepare for the dreaded farm checks
'I have just received a telephone call to tell me I am having a single farm payment scheme inspection tomorrow. What should I do?"
I received this message from a farmer last week, and these were the points we discussed:
Type of inspection
It is important to find out what type of inspection will be carried out before the inspector arrives, as the amount of notice given will depend on the type of inspection. Also, the type of inspection will determine what type of things the inspector will be looking at.
- Eligibility Check -- An eligibility inspection will involve the inspector physically walking the land parcels.
- Verify the area declared on the SPS Form corresponds with the total area available to the applicant on May 31 and ensure there are no duplicate claims.
- Verify appropriate reductions have been made for ineligible areas such as scrub, farm buildings, roadways etc.
- Cross Compliance Check -- An animal identification and registration check under Cross Compliance will involve checks on tagging, your bovine herd register and whether the animals on farm match the Department's herd profile.
- There is a requirement for farmers to comply with a number of Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs) set down in EU legislation on the Environment, Public and Animal Health and Animal Welfare.
- There is also a requirement to maintain land in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC).
Notice of inspection in advance
The Farmers' Charter, which is available on the Department of Agriculture website (www.agriculture.gov.ie), sets out the notification procedure. It states that 14 days may be given for land eligibility and cross compliance inspections involving SMRs other than those related to animal identification and registration, food, feed and animal welfare.
For checks involving animal identification and registration, the maximum advance notice is 48 hours, provided the Department is satisfied that the purpose of the inspection is not jeopardised. For SMR's dealing with feed, food and animal welfare, no advance notice may be given.
Procedure for unannounced inspections