Published: Tue, 13 May 2014
Sean Kelly MEP is calling for a ‘yellow card’ system to be introduced for farm inspections.
“Having met with numerous farmers on the canvass trail at marts and various locations across Ireland South, it is clear that unannounced farm inspections are a major concern for farmers, particularly when they are asked to produce paperwork at short notice.
“I advocate the introduction of a ‘yellow card’ system for such inspections so minor discrepancies can be noted under a warning system and the farmer be given some notice to address any concerns. This would allow farmers the chance to correct any issues quickly and to standard without immediately losing any of their EU direct payment,” Mr Kelly said in Ennis today.
The South MEP said that farmers can currently lose between 2 percent and 20 percent of their direct payment in the case of minor breaches.
“A fairer method of addressing minor discrepancies arising from farm inspections is a priority for me and I will raise this issue with the highest level EU policymakers in Brussels during the next European Parliament mandate,” continued Mr Kelly, who is seeking re-election on May 23rd.
“Direct payments are a vital lifeline for rural farm families in Ireland. The average farm income in 2013 was 21,400 Euro. 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,” he added.