A number of key issues that lead to unnecessary stress and pressures on farm families need to be addressed before the new Farmers’ Charter is agreed, Pat McCormack of the ICMSA says.

The Deputy President of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) was speaking in advance of a meeting on the new Farmers’ Charter on Thursday (May 28th).

McCormack said that the ICMSA’s key issues are the need to see a reduction in the overall number of inspections on farms and the notification period for an inspection needs to be adequate.

He also said that the tolerance levels in relation to minor technical errors need to be realistic, and finally, that payments are made on schedule and within a reasonable timeframe are also key issues.

“There is a clear consensus among farmers that the overall number of inspections on farms is increasing over time and we need to see a maximum level of inspections on an annual basis and a clear plan aimed at reducing the number of inspections over time.

“Adequate notice of inspection is a clear and very reasonable demand for farmers and a sensible plan that moves towards that objective needs to be agreed,” the ICMSA Deputy President said.

He also said that the issue of tolerances is important to farmers.

Small technical breaches are leading to financial penalties on farmers in a way that’s most unfair and we have to move towards a system of tolerances that takes account of the practical realities of farming.

McCormack said that this will mean that the current system of tolerances is reformed.

He said that payments under all schemes must be delivered within the agreed timeframes so that farmers can plan their business accordingly.