O’Neill Announces Penalties For Overdue TB Herd Tests

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA today announced that TB herd tests overdue by more than three months will be considered for cross-compliance penalty for an intentional breach.

dn_screenThe Minister said: “This is a measured and proportionate response to the problem posed by the 300 or so farmers annually who have TB herd tests overdue by more than three months.

“From 1 January 2014, penalties have been applied to herdkeepers in the 1% selected for cross-compliance inspection when either routine or risk TB herd tests are more than one month overdue, rather than three months as previously. I announced at that time that the position would be reviewed during 2015. I can advise herdkeepers that these arrangements will be retained for a further year, which retains broad parity with the position in the south of Ireland.”

“However, it is not acceptable that some 300 herdkeepers fail to test within three months of their TB herd testing due date, which may increase the disease risk to their herd and potentially to the herds of their neighbours. While appropriate consideration will be given to any mitigating force majeure reasons, it is intended that any farmer with a test due date from 1 January 2015 onwards, and who does not have their TB herd test completed within three months of that due date, will be automatically referred for a cross-compliance intentional breach penalty.

“Appropriate notification will be given to such herdkeepers to encourage them to test in a timely manner and thereby avoid incurring that financial penalty.”

The Minister indicated that the position on cross-compliance in relation to TB herd tests would be reviewed again during 2015 to consider whether any further changes are needed from 1 January 2016.