EU satellite ‘passes your parcel of land 3 times a week’

EU farmland is monitored by satellite for inspection up to three times a week, which will eventually replace the need for on-farm inspectors, according to European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan.

Commissioner Hogan was speaking at the annual general meeting of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) last Friday (November 30) in Limerick.

Speaking on the matter of on-farm inspections, the commissioner said:

“We’re going to abolish the need for car-loads of inspectors, of human beings at least, because we’re going to go to new technology.”

The commissioner said that Europe has developed geospatial application systems and new satellite technologies.

The satellite passes your parcel of land three times a week so we know what’s going on on your farm – even if you mightn’t think so.

Joking about the “car-loads of inspectors”, Commissioner Hogan quipped: “My late mother used to give them tea and brown bread – and it seems to have worked very well.”

100% online applications

On a more serious note, he added: “Member states tell us that they have found the necessary tools of modernisation and applications to avoid the red tape around paper applications; simplify the crosschecks of data with other electronic bases.

“And one initiative that our ministries have to look at is, and where they can be very helpful to farmers, and they are working on this at the moment, is the necessity for 100% online applications.”

Lauding Ireland as one of the first countries to achieve 100% online applications, Commissioner Hogan said that this is exactly what the commission wants to see, and explained why.

What we want to get to in the future is that the minister should prefill the application form for you with the technology that they have available to them, particularly under the land parcel identification system; and all you have to do is make little changes – if there are any changes.

“That’s what we’re aspiring to go to over the next few years and this will make a huge difference to your lives in terms of the paperwork that you have to go through at the moment.”