Department suspends on-farm visits for 2 weeks

In a wide-ranging announcement, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed confirmed that routine Department of Agriculture on-farm visits will not be taking place in the coming days.

Making the announcement early this morning, Tuesday, March 31, the minister explained that there would be a fortnight-long suspension on routine visits on-farm:

“For the next two weeks routine departmental on-farm visits will not be taking place, unless required on a risk basis.

Essential services, such as disease control or reactor removal, will continue. This will be kept under review as the situation evolves.

“Some inspections such as under the ‘Young Farmer Scheme’ are being conducted by telephone,” the minister added.

Telephone interviews

The Young Farmer Scheme news had earlier been confirmed by the Department of Agriculture to young farmer representative association Macra na Feirme last week.

Welcoming the decision, Thomas Duffy, the president of Macra na Feirme, said that it would allow “flexibility for young Irish farmers who have applied for the Young Farmers Scheme and TAMS [Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme]”.

The phone interviews will take the place of in-person interviews, and the department confirmed that required documentation can be posted in, the president noted.

This is a much-needed relief to young farmers who have applied. It avoids unnecessary contact with inspectors while ensuring the schemes can be continued. This is the right decision by the department.

The department also confirmed that young farmers who cannot complete their educational requirements for the Young Farmers Scheme or TAMS due to college closures will be accommodated through arrangements with Teagasc.