Spy in the sky sets sights on farms

NEW SATELLITE technology that can measure distances as small as 1m is being piloted across the EU by those agencies in member states responsible for administration.

Under EU rules, member states are required to monitor and inspect a minimum of 5% of land involved in claiming funds under the CAP.

The surveillance is to be carried out during the growing season and will assist the RPA in its efforts to check farmers are meeting their obligations under cross-compliance regulations.

The high-resolution imagery will be used to make preliminary inspections of fields, field margins, footpaths and hedgerows. But farmers should not be too concerned. The use of satellite imagery is nothing new. In fact, the RPA has been using it since 1992.

But the latest images benefit from a greatly improved resolution.

“We do not reduce payments to farmers on the basis of the satellite checks alone. If the satellite imagery indicates a possible discrepancy with a farmer’s claim for aid, RPA follows up the matter either through correspondence or with a physical inspection to confirm the facts,” said Chris Lee, inspections policy manager at the RPA.

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