Dairy QA audit row over who pays €193 fee
With the launch of the long-awaited dairy quality assurance scheme just weeks away, questions till remain over who is going to foot the bill.
It has emerged that the cost of each inspection is being put at €193, or €3.5m for the 18,000 participating farmers.
The Farming Independent has seen a draft copy of the six page application form that each farmer will be required to fill out over the coming weeks.
In addition to requiring the herd-owner to sign the form in three separate areas, the application form lists 21 actions and records that the farmer must present during the inspection, such as feed delivery dockets for the past six months.
The form warns farmers that this 'is not a complete list of requirements'. It also asks farmers to refrain from using sewages or sludges and disbudding calves over two weeks of age, or heat synchronisation without veterinary supervision.
Curiously, it also forbids any milk to be supplied from cloned animals. But insiders involved in the roll-out of the new scheme claim that no farmer will be allowed to fail the inspection. This has been insisted on by processors determined to avoid having to deal with two separate streams of quality assured (QA) and non-QA milk.
Despite the advanced stage of the process, agreement on who foots the bill appears to be far from being resolved.
"It is ICMSA's clear and categorical understanding that dairy farmers do not have to pay directly for the scheme as it is funded from the milk processors," said ICMSA deputy president, Pat McCormack.