The ICMSA has said that 'no notice’ inspections on farms should be confined to history.

This is one of the priorities the organisation expects from the new farmers charter to be agreed for 2023.

An adequate period of notice should be given to farmers for all inspections, ICMSA's deputy president Denis Drennan has argued.

"With the changing structure and complexities of farming, it is simply unacceptable that an inspector would just arrive at a farm and expect a farmer to stop whatever he or she is doing for a day.

"Farms are a working environment and farmers need adequate notice to ensure they can properly address the requirements of the inspections," he said.

The second issue that needs to be addressed, according to Drennan, is that the number of inspections should be kept to an absolute minimum and should be set at the number required under EU legislation.


"In addition, a clear protocol and clarification is required in relation to the use of satellite inspections and farmers need to be assured that ‘Big Brother’ is not watching them on a constant basis and that their right to privacy is protected.

Thirdly, he said that a fair system of reasonable tolerances is required for farmers.

"With the best will in the world, given the sheer scale and complexity of regulation surrounding farming today, farmers will make genuine mistakes and errors and a system of tolerances that will ensure no financial penalty for minor breaches of regulations is required and must be agreed as part of the new farmers' charter”, Drennan said.

Drennan added that it is essential that the new farmers' charter is finalised as soon as possible and that it does represents an opportunity for all to ‘step forward’ and arrive at a solution that works for all.

"Commitments agreed and included in the charter must be delivered “in full” by the Department of Agriculture," he said.