Satellite farm inspections could reduce administration and paperwork

The introduction of satellite surveillance inspections for farms is thought to be in response to demands for less administration and paperwork.Farming Independent journalist, Martin Ryan said the Agriculture Commission is reacting to calls to simplify the communication between the department and farmers. He was speaking after EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan told farmers at the ICMSA AGM last week that physical farm inspections will be replaced by satellites which will monitor for compliance three times a week.

Martin Ryan said the technology is already being used in some areas of agriculture, and is just being extended to carry out more roles usually done by inspectors on the ground. Speaking to Northern Sound, Martin Ryan said there are some parts of the strategy that need to be ironed out to avoid unfair penalties being issued.

A local farmer is opposed to the use of satellite surveillance for farm inspections, saying there’s nothing wrong with how inspections are currently carried out. Walter Pringle, whose farm crosses the Monaghan – Fermanagh border, says there needs to be regulation on what these satellites can see, because they’ll remove all privacy from farmers’ lives. Phil Hogan said farmers will no longer have to worry about inspectors arriving, but Walter Pringle said he never had an issue with department officials on his land.