Agriculture, Food and Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue announced today (Thursday 21 July) that Surveillance Checks (CbM) notifications under the 2022 Protein Assistance Scheme and the straw incorporation measure are now issued.
Other notifications should also be published in the coming months.
The Protein Support Diet is a payment to farmers for growing beans, peas and lupins. These nitrogen-fixing crops provide significant environmental benefits and are also a source of locally produced protein for animal feed.
The Straw incorporation measurement is payment for chopping straw and incorporating it into the soil.
Surveillance checks are an automated and continuous process that uses satellites and other data sources to verify agricultural activity on all parcels declared by farmers under the protein support scheme and the measurement of incorporation of straw in 2022.
It replaces the old on-farm inspection system. The process will notify applicants of a potential problem related to the type of crop or activity in the parcels declared by the farmer.
When such a potential problem is detected, a notification will be issued on the Basic Payment System (BPS) online system. If a farmer is subscribed to SMS alerts, an SMS will be sent advising them to look for a notification in their BPS account.
Geotagged photographs or other documents may be requested as part of the notification. In some cases, it may be necessary to verify the position in the field by means of a visit to the farm.
In order to facilitate the implementation of the Area Monitoring System (AMS), which will be mandatory during the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) period, a phased introduction is being implemented by Ireland for various schemes in the during the intermediate period.
The first phase in 2021 saw the protein aid program come under surveillance. This second phase in 2022 will include the straw incorporation measure.
The minister said: “The introduction of checks by checks is a positive step towards simplifying the CAP.
“Monitoring checks offer many benefits to farmers, including allowing them to change their payment claim without penalty when potential non-compliance is identified.”
However, the system has come under criticism since its initial announcement.
Earlier, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) described the level of oversight that will be used for the Protein Aid Scheme this year and other schemes in years to come as ‘extremely intrusive and worrying’ .
ICMSA President Pat McCormack has previously said, “I’m a bit irritated by the idea that because it’s, in a sense, government money that’s been given through various agricultural programs, participating farmers are expected to waive all rights to privacy.”