Livestock farmers are set to be afforded the opportunity to rectify missing tags following Department inspections, according to ICSA President Patrick Kent.

Kent has welcomed the conclusion of the Farmers’ Charter negotiations last night, but has warned that not everything farmers wanted has been achieved.

“Obviously we welcome the fact that these very protracted negotiations have finally reached a conclusion, and there are a number of positives in the new Charter,” said Kent.

“A key element is the copper-fastening of the principle of a ‘yellow card’ approach to tagging and other minor animal ID non-compliances, which will be a welcome relief to farmers.

“There is a recognition that tag loss is inevitable, and on inspection many farmers will be afforded the opportunity to rectify missing tags. However, farmers still need to be aware that this flexibility predominantly relates to animals missing just one tag.”

“Of course, it’s not all positive,” he said.

According to the ICSA President the issue of notice for inspections has proved very difficult to resolve to farmers’ satisfaction.

“The Farmers’ Charter Monitoring Committee remains an important forum for keeping pressure on the Department to ensure the greatest possible speed and efficiency in delivering payments to farmers in a timely fashion.”

“The reality of the situation is that the Farmers’ Charter is subject to the restraints of EU regulations, which limits the ability to deliver a Charter in which farmers can have full confidence,” he said.

The Charter is effectively an agreement between both the Department of Agriculture and farmers 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.

Minister Coveney has said that the document sets out in very clear language, the timelines, application, payment and appeals processes and is a very useful reference for farmer.

The new Charter which will come into immediate effect and will now be published. It will remain in place until 2020 coinciding with the lifetime of the current Pillar I and Pillar II schemes.