Under the Farmers’ Charter 2015-2020, E.U. legislation and terms and conditions of schemes, On-Farm Inspections are conducted by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine officials, as part of scheme participation eligibility requirements.
From unannounced, to forty-eight hours’ notice to a maximum of fourteen days, notice periods vary depending on the purpose of the inspection.
The following schemes cover under the Farmers’ Charter include: Basic Payment Scheme, Young Farmers, Area of Natural Constraints, Beef Data and Genomics Programme( BDGP), REPS, AEOS, GLAS, Organic Farming Scheme and Tams II.
A document produced by the DAFM, states that 65-85% of inspections are conducted by remote sensing.
Eliminating the need for an inspection, remote sensing uses images captured by satellites in order to assess ground areas.
The two methods of selection are randomly and at risk, 20%- 25% of inspections are selected at random, while the remainder are chosen by risk.
Land eligibility inspections under the Basic Payment Scheme and Young Farmers Scheme has a 5% inspection rate.
In line with a Cross Compliance inspection, animal welfare, housing and I.D. are identified are some of the key areas examined.
This covers the Statutory Management Requirements and Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions( GAEC).
The below has been summarised from the official DAFM document.
- Depending on the nature of the scheme, you may receive some notice. See the DAFM’s website for more information. No- notice inspections must be carried out on the day.
- The official will arrive to the farm and introduce themselves, presenting their I.D.
- Training is frequently facilitates for officials to understand the need to treat farmers with Respect and utmost fairness, the document states.
- If you are unavailable to be present on the day, you can appoint another party of your choice; a representative.
- The inspection will commence at the hub or main holding.
- The farmer will be provided with a preliminary inspection report, including the findings once the inspection is completed.
- Eligibility inspections must be conducted by the planned day for the commencement of payment, with the exception of unforeseen circumstances.
- The DAFM state that the timing of inspections is taken into consideration.
- The inspections are integrated, which means that multiple inspections can occur on certain farms.
- If an official arrives on a farm to conduct an unannounced inspection and cannot locate any personnel on the farm, they will return to the farm on another day. On their return, the officer shall contact the applicant if unavailable in order to conduct the inspection.
- If an applicant refuses to allow the conduction of an inspection, a ‘cooling off’ period is allowed, followed by a reconsideration of their decision and the supervisor will be notified if they wish not proceed with the inspection.
If farmers are unsatisfied with the results of their inspections, as part of the Customer Charter, every farmer has the right to appear decisions made by the DAFM and for each case, all circumstances taken into consideration.
The appeal must be logged within one month. Find out more information about appeals here.
See more information on the DAFM’s website here.