Almost 40% of farmers penalised after cross compliance inspections
Almost 40% of farmers were hit with a penalty or sanction following cross compliance inspections last year, according to latest figures released by the Department of Agriculture.
Some 1,368 cross compliance inspections were carried out by Department of Agriculture representatives last year. Of those inspections some 528 were found to have breaches which incurred monetary penalties or sanctions.
The Department figures also show that a further 490 cross compliance inspections uncovered ‘minor breaches’ which refers to cases with minor non-compliances resulting in no monetary sanction. Inspections on 350 of the 1,368 farms last year should up no non-compliances.
The table details the outcome of the 2014 Full Cross Compliance Inspections. The Department says that it should be noted that this data is subject to change as the outcome of review requests and appeals to the Agriculture Appeals Office are finalised.
Payments to farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are now dependent on the achievement and maintenance of baseline standards on environmental and public health, animal and plant health, and animal welfare – otherwise known as cross compliance. There are two key elements to cross compliance:
- Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs) – these are existing and already legally binding standards defined by a range of 19 European regulatory requirements covering environmental, public health, plant health and animal health and welfare standards; and
- Standards consistent with keeping land in “Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition” (GAEC) including habitat conservation and soil protection.
The Department of Agriculture and the main farming organisations recently concluded months of negotiations on a new Farmers Charter.
The Charter is effectively an agreement between both parties on improving the standards and delivery targets for the Department’s schemes and services, including on-farm inspections, and brings clarity to the arrangements around inspections.