LAND ELIGIBILITY INSPECTIONS CONTINUE TO FARMERS’ DETRIMENT

‘Thousands hit with overclaim penalties’

‘Inspections to continue in coming years in a manner particularly unfavourable to disadvantaged farmers’

‘Process totally unfair…and absolutely contradicts stated EU objectives’

‘Farmers at their wits’ end trying to make sense of increasingly bizarre regulations’. 

Sligo News File Online.

Patrick Kent, President, Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers Association.
Patrick Kent, President, Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers Association.

ICSA president Patrick Kent has expressed concern that the process of making more and more land ineligible for EU supports is continuing unabated by the Department of Agriculture. 

“We have already seen thousands of farmers subjected to overclaim penalties under the LPIS review, which should have brought some degree of finality to land parcel reductions.  However, we are getting reports of more and more inspections which are particularly concentrated on marginal land and there have been suggestions that the process is going to continue in coming years in a manner particularly unfavourable to disadvantaged farmers.”

“This process is totally unfair to farmers on marginal land and absolutely contradicts stated EU objectives of maintaining a biodiverse, environmentally sound and visually beautiful
landscape.   It also hinders the objective of avoiding land abandonment, which is also a stated EU aim.”

Mr. Kent said that he agreed with concerns raised by the Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association. 

“Farmers in some upland areas are being penalised for having insufficient agricultural activity but on the other hand are required to follow rules which require them to remove cattle from hills.

“We have seen land penalised that was described as habitat under REPS which consequently could not be sprayed or subjected to any intense farming practice, reclamation or land improvement.”

“Farmers are at their wits’ end trying to make sense of an increasingly bizarre set of regulations. 

“It is totally unfair that a farmer can no longer reasonably be sure of what area he is farming and worse still, is likely to be penalised for being unable to measure the unmeasurable.”