FA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy has said the simplification proposals put forward by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan need to go further and must address the concerns and fears farmers have when an inspection takes place on the farm.
Flor McCarthy said the simplification agenda of Commissioner Hogan is welcome and some of his proposals to date will be of help to farmers. However, the real concern of farmers are the number of inspections, the lack of tolerance across the wide range of cross compliance requirements, and the level of penalties that are imposed.
The IFA Rural Development Chairman also pointed out the huge administrative burden being placed on farmers. Farmers are asked to have all their records up-to-date and if there are any discrepancies penalties will be incurred. Greater tolerance and cross-checks can be done through the Department of Agriculture system to tell farmers what they are required to do to keep records up to date.
Flor McCarthy said the proposals on preventative crosschecks on area aid applications, simplification of administrative penalties and a yellow card system for first offenders is a welcome move by Commissioner Hogan. Also, relaxation of penalties for over declaration of land less than 2ha is also welcome.
Concluding, Flor McCarthy said that removing the stress on farm families must be a key requirement for the Commission. IFA will now be insisting that all the new initiatives are put in place for 2016.