SIR, – We are in farming because we are passionate about our job.

Farmers work incredibly hard seven days a week and, in a lot of cases, more than eight hours a day. We are at the mercy of the weather and all sorts of unpredictable other factors.

Farmers need to be efficient in order to make a living and it is not in our best interests not to do the job well.

Farmers, myself included, spend a lot of hours every week keeping the paperwork right in addition to all the hours worked outside. Most do not have the luxury of office staff to do this for them.

A QMS inspection involves in excess of two hours of checking the paperwork and nit-picking. This is not the time we get paid for.

I passed my last QMS inspection without issue so this is not a case of sour grapes, but a request to insert some common sense into the process.

Any inspector taking a walk around the livestock should immediately be able to tell if the livestock are happy and healthy.

At the end of the day, that is what it is all about!

Efficient farmers work incredibly long hours. If there is a problem caused on, or by, the farm then that surely is the time to dig deeper into the farm records. My issue is with the inspection itself - the detail it goes into and the time it takes. Is it really necessary to go into such detail EVERY year on every farm?

An annual intrusive check on all farms is causing excessive extra stress for the farmer being inspected and has got totally out of hand. It seems that the whole ethos of the QMS inspection is a genuine attempt to make the average hard-working, conscientious farmer feel totally incompetent.

Many farmers are questioning the need to be part of QMS at all which is entirely due to the stress these very detailed inspections cause.

A look around the stock, a quick check of movement records, the medicine book, and the vet Animal Health and Welfare plan could be all that is required at the annual inspection.

In my opinion, a pass at an inspection could qualify for a four-year basic inspection with a more detailed and thorough inspection, only if absolutely necessary, say every five years.

I wonder how many people involved in this scheme are getting extremely well paid from the levies and subscriptions collected just so they can think up more and more standards that need to be inspected. None probably have to work overtime, and without holidays, the way lots of farmers do. The funds would be better spent promoting the end product.

Producing high welfare Scotch Beef and Lamb is something we are proud to do.

Simply let us get on with the job we are good at - as there may not be farms signed up to QMS to inspect!

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