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HomeBeefYoung farmers: Preparing for DAFM inspections & common non-compliance issues
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Young farmers: Preparing for DAFM inspections & common non-compliance issues

According to Raymond Burke of the Integrated Controls Division, within the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, there are two parts associated with the Young Farmers’ Scheme inspection process.

These are divided into stage one, a land eligibility inspection and part two, which examines compliance in the form of an on-farm interview with a young farmer.

During a recent DAFM webinar on the Young Farmers’ Scheme, he outlined each part in more detail:

Part 1: Land eligibility inspection:

  • Remote sensing or ground inspection;
  • Purpose: To identify if land claimed is eligible for farm schemes – BPS/ANC/YDS;
  • Inspection carried out in scheme year, 2022;
  • Must be an agricultural area – land must be suitable for ag production
  • Grazable vegetation;
  • Evidence of agricultural activity on parcel.
Part 2: Examining compliance with Young Farmers’ Scheme:
  • Managerial control – established by an interview with young farmer solely with a standard list of questions on all farming enterprises, relating to scheme year, 2022. Examines YF’s knowledge of daily farming operations – generally up to 6 questions per enterprise, which are documented facts, so validation is possible.
  • Financial control: Document check to see if financial operations are conducted through a bank A/C under the control of the YF, either solely or joint (if the YF is part of a group). Invoices (cattle and/or milk sales), receipts and bank A/C statements used for all transactions must include the YF’s name and be under their control;
  • Up to 48 hours notice – YF informed about procedures and documentation required.
Documentation checks:
  • Check on transactions for 2022 scheme year only;
  • Includes checks for DAFM payments (agriculture and forestry);
  • Checked documents are photocopied or photographed;
  • If documentation is not available on the day of inspection, the inspector issues a department require letter, listing the documents to be provided by the applicant, and it allows 14 days for the applicant to forward documents.
  • If required, documents are not received, the young farmer will be ineligible for payments.
Post-inspection process:
  • Young farmer cleared for payment if deemed eligible;
  • Control report issues in letter for young farmer not deemed ineligible for payment because of a failure to demonstrate managerial control, demonstrate financial control, provide requested documentation, does not show up for an interview or withdraws from scheme. 14-day response window.
  • Formal notice (FN) issues to young farmers who do not respond and those who accept control reports.
  • New info/documentation is considered, which leads to 1) payment clearance, 2) the farmer deemed ineligible for payment;
  • Formal notice sets out reasons for ineligibility. 28-day period for review for DI (district inspector).
Preparing for an inspection: Tips

In brief, his tips for preparing for an inspection:

  • Management control: Be familiar with all enterprises;
  • Financial control: Ensure all farm business financial transactions are through a bank account under a YF’s control – either sole operator, company, partnership or joint;
  • All cases: Another name on bank A/C cannot be a separate farmer;
  • YF as a signatory on A/C is not acceptable.
Non-compliance issues 

During the virtual session, he outlined common non-compliance issues when applying for the YFS:

  • Failure to demonstrate managerial control
    • Applicant has insufficient knowledge of farm operations;
    • Applicant does not show up for interview;
  • Failure to demonstrate financial control:
    • DAFM cannot trace financial transactions through a bank account under the control of the YF – different A/Cs used to lodge transactions from sales and purchases of animals, milk cheques, ect.
    • Sole operators: Bank account is under the control of the young farmer plus another farmer;
    • Partnership: Bank A/C under the control of the young farmer, plus partner, plus another farmer not involved in the partnership. All lodgements should go through partnership bank A/C, which names all partners in bank A/C.

Read more on young farmer supports.

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