UK’s agriculture department moves to defuse maps row

UK’s agriculture department moves to defuse maps row

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New guidelines outlining what farmers should do to resolve their map queries are expected to be published next week.

An Ulster Farmers’ Union delegation, led by deputy president, Kenneth Sharkey, has met senior Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) officials to raise farmers concerns and frustrations about the new farm mapping exercise.

The UFU highlighted the need for farmers to be able to resolve their mapping queries as efficiently as possible and the need for a clear Kenneth Sharkey resolution, which would allow farmers to complete their 2005 IACS form and associated Field Data Sheets accurately.

Kenneth Sharkey said: “There has been a huge volume of queries from farmers about the new GIS maps, which were issued to them by DARD. “These include situations where: the size or boundaries of the new field maps are in dispute, where fields are missing from the new maps; or where field sizes are recorded as 0.00 hectares. We need to resolve this ongoing problem urgently.”
The UFU said it expected DARD to publish new guidelines next week outlining what farmers should do to resolve their farm map queries and complete with accuracy their 2005 IACS form and associated Field Data Sheet.

A key issue is that farmers have simply signed and returned the Field Data Sheet, without activating and establishing their entitlements in the relevant columns.