Three areas cause most issues in Quality Assurance inspections
The revamped Bord Bia QA scheme is giving farmers breathing space on audit issues
'We need to sell our story - we have a great one to tell," said Maura McCarthy on the success of farming in Ireland as she addressed some 500 people who attended the Bord Bia farm walk on Harry and Amanda Murphy's holding near Ferns, Co Wexford last week.
A farmer and an auditor working on behalf of Bord Bia, Ms McCarthy was on hand to outline some of the important changes to the Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme implemented on April 24 of this year.
The scheme was one of several topics discussed during the day which also included areas of farm safety, licensing laws on the road, and health and mental well-being of the farmer.
The newly-revamped Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme was of particular interest to farmers who have greatly welcomed the new close-out model whereby they are now given 30 days to address issues raised during an audit.
Previously farmers were expelled from the scheme for six months, but this new initiative now mirrors that available for the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS).
It is deemed a fairer way of giving farmers an opportunity to rectify some of the smaller issues that arise during the audit of approximately 23,000 farms inspected annually by Capita Customer Solutions on behalf of Bord Bia.
Some 7,700 farms have been subjected to audits since the new changes came into operation. Of those, a mere 10pc received a mark less than 60pc and were found to be non-compliant.
"Some of those chose not to process but if you do not pass on the first go, you now have 30 days for a re-audit. This might mean something as simple as providing photographic evidence of a PTO cover, or something similar," Ms McCarthy said.