Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1381)

Thomas P. Broughan


1381. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of inspections carried out on farming premises in 2018, by county, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34945/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In the context of delivering the various Direct Payment Schemes and Rural Development measures, my Department is required to carry out on-the-spot inspections annually. These inspections cover the areas of land eligibility and other scheme-specific eligibility criteria. Inspections to ensure compliance with Greening requirements in the areas of Crop Diversification and Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs) are required. In addition, inspections to ensure compliance with the Cross Compliance requirements, as set down in EU legislation (Directives and Regulations), and the standards for good agricultural and environmental condition (GAEC), in the areas of environment, climate change and good agricultural condition of land; public, animal and plant health and animal welfare are required.

The EU regulations governing the inspections require that specific percentages of cases must be inspected. In addition, the regulations provide for the 'stacking' of inspections, i.e., cases selected a Land Eligibility inspection under one scheme can count towards the percentage inspection requirements for another scheme. My Department also endeavours to minimise the number of 'gates crossed', as much as possible, by 'stacking' inspections, for example, Animal Identification and Registration inspections will be combined with Eligibility inspections, where feasible.

The following tables details the number of holdings subject to inspections in respect of 2018 Scheme Year applications. The data is being provided at national level as the annual inspection programme, including the risk analysis selection process, operates on a national basis and, therefore, any comparison on a county basis is meaningless.

Land/Scheme Eligibility - covering the Basic Payment Scheme; the Greening Payment; the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme, the Areas of Specific Constraints (Islands) Scheme; the Young Farmers Scheme; the Protein Aid Scheme and the Beef Data and Genomics Programme.

The EU regulations provide that Land Eligibility inspections can be undertaken by means of field visits on the ground or by means of Remote Sensing using up-to-date satellite imagery. Where it is not possible to make an accurate determination using the satellite imagery, a field visit will be required to verify the position on the ground. My Department currently inspects in the region of 85% of land eligibility cases by means of Remote Sensing.

Type of Inspection

Number of Farm Holdings subject to Inspection - 2018 Scheme Year

Ground Inspection


Remote Sensing Inspection


Remote Sensing Field Visit


A total of 1,030 farm holdings were subject to a Scheme Eligiblity inspection under the 2018 Sheep Welfare Scheme. This scheme does not have a land eligibility element to the inspection process.

Cross Compliance Inspections - Applicants under the various EU funded schemes are obliged to comply with the requirements of Cross Compliance set out in the governing EU regulations under the various Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs) and the standards for Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC).

Type of Inspection

Number of Farm Holdings subject to Inspection - 2018 Scheme Year

Full Cross Compliance Inspection


Animal Identification and Registration Inspection


A total of 853 holdings were subject to a Local Authority Nitrates inspections under an agreement between my Department and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

As outlined above my Department endeavours to 'stack' inspections where this is feasible.

The following tables relate to inspections in respect of other Rural Development measures to meet requirements under the EU regulations.


Number of Farm Holdings subject to Inspection - 2018 Scheme Year

GLAS (Green, Low Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme)



Number of Inspections in 2018

OFS (Organic Farming Scheme)



Number of Farm Holdings subject to Inspection in 2018

TAMS (Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes)


A further 372 farm holdings were inspected in 2018 in respect of applications to exceed the 170kg nitrogen/hectare limit.