Deering Calls for Yellow & Red Card System to be introduced for Farm Inspections.

15th May, 2014

 

Carlow Fine Gael TD, Pat Deering, has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, to consider introducing a Yellow and Red Card system for breaches of cross compliance rather than a financial penalty for the first and often times minor offence.

“All applicants under the Single Payment Scheme and other area based schemes are obliged to comply with the requirements of the cross compliance regime. The department carries out annual inspections to ensure compliance. Farm inspections are a major concern for farmers, particularly when they are asked to produce paperwork at short notice.

“I am asking Minister Coveney to introduce a ‘Card’ system for such inspections so minor discrepancies can be noted under a warning system and the farmer be given time and assistance to address any issues that occur. This would allow farmers the opportunity to correct any minor issues quickly and without immediately losing any of their EU direct payment.

“A fairer method of addressing minor discrepancies arising from farm inspections would be to issue a ‘Yellow Card’ for the first offence, provided it’s minor and not intentional. If the non compliance is persistent or of a serious nature then a ‘Red Card’ would be issued and should carry financial sanctions in accordance with the severity of the offence.

“These direct payments are a vital income for farm families in Ireland. The average Irish farm income in 2013 was €21,400, with many well below the average. While farm standards must be maintained, there has to be room for some flexibility regarding very minor issues that can easily be resolved if the farmer is given the opportunity to do so. It would also cut down significantly on the current appeal mechanism which can be slow and arduous for the department and the farmer.”