6,700 farms subject to satellite inspections in 2020

Approximately 6,700 farms were subject to Remote Sensing (satellite) inspections in 2020, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

In a statement to AgriLand, a spokesperson for the department said:

“Currently a 5% control rate for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and other area-based schemes is specified in the governing EU regulations.

In Ireland, approximately 1% is carried out by full ground inspections and 4% by means of Remote Sensing involving the photo-interpretation of current-year satellite imagery.

Scheme eligibility requirements and area measurements are determined as part of this process, it was added.

“In 2020, approximately 6,700 applications were subject to a Remote Sensing inspection and this figure is consistent with previous years.”

By comparison, 6,840 applicants, under the various EU-funded area-based schemes, were selected for a satellite inspection in 2019. The bulk of these were applicants under the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) scheme.

Looking forward towards Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform and its implications, the department spokesperson said: “Simplification of the CAP has been a top priority for the EU and member states in recent times.

“Modernising the CAP through the use of technology for management and administrative purposes is seen as a key component in achieving simplification.

The Area Monitoring System [AMS] is an example of how the use of new innovative technologies can aid in modernising the agricultural sector.

Continuing, the department representative added:

“Introducing the AMS approach in Ireland has many potential benefits both for administrations and farmers alike.

“These include a potential reduction in the burden of controls [particularly certain ground controls], reduced administration costs and the introduction of warning alerts to farmers helping to minimise the occurrence of non-compliances.

Such alerts will facilitate farmers to implement appropriate changes at farm level to ensure continued compliance with scheme requirements and avoid penalties.

“The department is currently in the process of examining how the AMS could be applied to the various EU-funded schemes,” the department spokesperson concluded.