At a local IFA meeting last week, conversation turned again to the stress of farm inspections. A member suggested that during an inspection the farmer should enlist an ally to accompany him. This could be a family member, a neighbour or a friend.
In addition to offering moral support, the third person can be an independent witness to what is said or done during the inspection. Any inclination by the inspector to be over the top in his role should be curbed by the presence of a third person.
Maybe a tape recorder could come in useful as well. Once I accompanied a farmer who was appealing the loss of two years' REPS payments. The farmer accused the Department of Agriculture inspector of abusing him in a phone call. The inspector angrily denied making any such call and accused the farmer of slander. Then the farmer said quietly to the Appeal's Judge "Do you want to hear the abuse?"
The farmer had recorded the phone conversation. The outstanding REPS payments were made. Any more tips are welcome. firstname.lastname@example.org.