ID problems spark jump in SFP fines
FINEs under the Single Farm Payment (SFP) system have jumped by 66pc, according to the latest figures released by the Department of Agriculture.
SFP fines in 2009 averaged out at €663 per farmer. However, this jumped by €437/fine in 2010, when the average hit €1,100 per head. Fines under the Disadvantaged Area scheme accounted for another €138/farmer.
Tagging, encroachment, withdrawal periods and clean milking parlours were all issues that account for the increased levels of fines.
The criteria under which a farmer is fined are broken down into six main categories -- cattle, sheep, nitrates, GAEC (good agricultural and environmental conditions), pesticides and food hygiene.
One in six farmers that were inspected in 2010 were fined. This averaged out at 6pc of farmers' SFP's.
Irregularities regarding cattle were by far the biggest reason for SFP fines in 2010, with more than two out of every five farmers being fined for bovine identification and registration problems.
A third of these fines were related to CMMS irregularities, such as failure to notify the database of movements, births and deaths. Another third was related to tagging irregularities, while the remainder had problems with missing and inaccurate passports and herd registers.
While the 40.8pc of the total fines accounted for by bovine identification and registration problems was marginally down on the 2009 total of 42pc, nitrates and GAEC problems appear to be on the rise.