Changes are needed at an EU level to remove the culture of fear in cross-compliance farm inspections, according to Scottish farming stalwart Brian Pack.

Speaking at NFU Scotland’s conference and AGM in St Andrews on Tuesday (12 February), the man behind the Scottish government’s report into CAP reform criticised unannounced cross-compliance inspections.

“We need a different culture of audit in the EU – one that is designed to be helpful and encourage folk to comply. At the moment it’s a culture of fear and that’s totally unhelpful,” he said.

“I think unannounced inspections are bizarre and we need to fight to get at least a fortnight’s notice.”

NFU Scotland dairy board chairman Gary Mitchell agreed and said there had been a culture change in Scottish agriculture and many farmers now feared the ministry of agriculture.

“I think the ministry of agriculture needs to have more dialogue with farmers about farm inspections and explain what they are looking for and what happens to us and them if it goes wrong,” he said.

“The sad thing is that we [farmers] look at them [ministry of agriculture] with fear, because we have all this money coming in from Europe and they are looking at ways of getting it back.”

Have your say

Mr Pack encouraged farmers to share their views on farm regulation by registering and posting comments on a Scottish government forum.

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