Like many beef and sheep farmers who are members of the NI farm quality assurance scheme (a close cousin to UK Red Tractor), every 18 months brings routine on-farm inspections.
This involves diligently gathering receipts as well as getting vet certs etc. In total, these inspections have a duration of around 90 minutes.
However, this week I was astounded to receive a letter from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) stating that banks and supermarkets are demanding carbon footprint audits from all scheme participants as a prerequisite for doing business with them. This is to add another 90 minutes to the normal inspection.
How many farmers can afford to take three hours out of their day for such bureaucracy? Imagine the problems this would cause for lone farmers in calving or lambing season.
I have to call into question the farmer representatives on the FQAS board for agreeing to this.
I think farmers should receive a sum of £300 for each of these inspections we have to tolerate.
There’s an abundance of funds currently going into the coffers of banks and supermarkets that need the farming community to survive.