Farmers should not be penalised for weather-delay inspections

At a meeting with senior officials in the Department of Agriculture in Portlaoise, IFA Deputy President Eddie Downey said Department inspectors must take account of the problems created on farms as a result of the unprecedented rainfall over recent weeks.

At a meeting with senior officials in the Department of Agriculture in Portlaoise, IFA Deputy President Eddie Downey said Department inspectors must take account of the problems created on farms as a result of the unprecedented rainfall over recent weeks.

Eddie Downey said the Department of Agriculture inspection service must show understanding and flexibility. He said, “Farmers cannot be penalised where it is clear the weather-related conditions inadvertently put farmers outside compliance.”

He said it is not acceptable that the extremely difficult conditions on some farms as a result of the weather would be compounded by the fear factor and stress associated with an unannounced inspection.

The IFA Deputy President said torrential rain and floods in many parts of the country has left thousands of farmers in a very difficult situation, making compliance on many issues impossible.

Eddie Downey also called on Minister Coveney to immediately secure and announce details on an advance payment of the Single Farm Payment from October 16th and full Disadvantaged Area payments from the third week of September.

The IFA Deputy President told the Department that under no circumstances can inspections hold up payments in 2012. He said it is the responsibility of the Department to ensure that all files sent for inspection are returned in good time to clear payments by the deadlines set down. “No payment can be held up because a file is out on inspection.”

Eddie Downey also called for the appeal system on stocking densities in respect of Disadvantaged Areas to be set up immediately so genuine cases are not denied payment.