Mention that you’ve just had a full cross compliance inspection to anyone and there’s a loud intake of breath, a hiss and a mouth falls open as they look at you in horror! Those words ‘full cross compliance inspection’ strike horror in the hearts of most farmers. ?Farmers are busy people and it’s been a tough year keeping on top of grassland (mud!) management, keeping stock fed, getting fodder for the winter and keeping some management on money as well as keeping records of medicines, sprays, animals and everything else in check. However, that’s what a cross compliance inspection checks -that all animals are present and correct, that the records comply with what the department has on record, is on our system and is correct in the yard. All of the cattle have a tag in each ear and should an animal be missing both tags, that’s an automatic penalty. Even one tag missing is frowned upon although it is not expected that the tag be replaced the day it falls out, it wouldn’t look good to be missing too many! ?Penalties are also imposed if the animals passports (blue cards) aren’t signed by the owner, not to mention if there are errors amongst the passports. Other checks include acreage, use of land, prescriptions, storage of medicines and sprays and much much more.
How is the penalty inflicted? Well, Irish farmers receive a single farm payment once a year (though it has been split into 2 payments in recent years) and a percentage is taken off the SFP. We recently heard of a farmer that lost 35% of his SFP, a hefty sum.
10 o’clock on Monday morning a jeep arrived in the yard. I noticed it from the kitchen window and presumed it was a rep coming for a payment. Half an hour later Brian arrived in with the news that it was 2 inspectors from the Dept of Agriculture carrying out a full cross compliance inspection, they would be coming in for tea shortly and one of them was a diabetic! ?What was I supposed to do with that information I wondered – what would happen if I put some teaspoons of sugar into the teapot!!
They were here from 10 till after 4pm apart from heading into Castlecomer for lunch after they’d checked the outfarm. ?To be honest, they were fine. We knew everything was in order but you just never know if there is a mistake somewhere or if something has been mislaid and if they will pounce on it. We were relieved when it was over though, everything fine, no penalties and all in order. ?As long as everything is kept up to date, there is no reason why there should have been anything wrong but people almost whisper ‘cross compliance inspection’ in tones that were probably once used for life-threatening diseases!
The bad news is we have to fill out tons of detailed data on stuff like our nitrates and much more within 2 weeks! No rest for the wicked!