Cross Compliance is implemented under two main areas:

Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs): These SMRs refer to 13 legislative requirements in the field of the environment, food safety, animal and plant health and animal welfare.

Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC): This obligation of keeping land in good agricultural and environmental condition refers to a range of standards related to soil, the protection and maintenance of soil organic matter, avoiding the deterioration of habitats and water protection.

Cross-Compliance I

Cross Compliance includes directives and regulations known as “Statutory Management Requirements” that are applied under the sectoral legislation and therefore, also apply to farmers not receiving the CAP support covered by Cross Compliance.

Included under public, animal and plant health are:

  • Regulations on general food law
  • Hormones directive
  • Regulations on identification and registration of pigs,cattle, sheep and goats
  • Regulations on prevention, control and eradication of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs)
  • Regulations on plant protection product and biocidal products

Included under animal welfare are Directives on the protection of calves, pigs and animals kept for farming purposes

Cross-Compliance  II

Included under environmental protection are:

  • The Nitrates Directive
  • NATURA 2000 Directives (wild birds and habitats)

Included also under environmental protection specifically for farmers receiving CAP payments is a set of standards on good agricultural and environmental condition of land the objective of which is to:

  • Prevent soil erosion through minimum soil cover and minimum land management
  • Maintain soil organic matter and soil structure through maintenance of soil organic matter levels
  • Ensure a minimum level of maintenance through retention of landscape features including a ban on cutting hedges and trees during the bird breeding and rearing season
  • Protect and manage water through the establishment of buffer strips along water courses, protection of ground water against pollution and, where applicable, the authorisation on water for irrigation

The information contained in this handbook is provided as a guide to farmers and should not be regarded as a legal interpretation of the Regulations.

This handbook is intended to assist you in ensuring that you are in full compliance with the requirements of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and other area based schemes. The payment schemes are important to you and it is important that you routinely evaluate your farming practices to ensure full compliance and protection of payments.

You should read and be familiar with the terms and conditions of the BPS, other direct payment schemes and rural development measures to which Cross Compliance applies. It shouldbe noted that the underpinning regulations are subject to review. If there is any disparity between the guidance in this handbook and either the Terms and Conditions or the EU Regulations underpinning them; then you should be aware that those documents supersede any such guidance in this handbook.

Cross Compliance Requirements

The beneficiary is the person responsible for ensuring the Cross Compliance rules are met and must make sure that the following people also meet the rules:

  • Persons acting for them (or under their control) on their holding e.g. contractor/farm employee
  • ersons with access to the holding under the terms of an agreement e.g. short-term rental agreement

For those requirements regarding the identification, registration and welfare of animals, it is the herd keeper/ herd owner who is responsible for compliance.

Farm Advisory System

The purpose of the Farm Advisory System (FAS) is to aid farmers in meeting their Cross Compliance obligations and to help farmers avoid financial reductions under Cross Compliance, in respect of SMRs and GAEC. DAFM maintains a database of approved FAS Advisors which is available to farmers. A list of these advisors is available on DAFM’s website at: farmadvisorysystem/

A FAS advisor should act as a ‘general consultant’, linking all of the different elements of farming, including the financial aspects with the various compliance requirements.

The existence of FAS ensures that each farmer can seek and receive advice on Cross Compliance. The use of the FAS is voluntary.

Cross Compliance Inspections

Cross Compliance inspections involve two key elements:

  • Verification that farmers comply with the 13 SMRs set down in EU legislation on the public health, animal and plant health, animal welfare, and the environment
  • Verification that farmers comply with the 7 standardspertaining to GAEC of land.

DAFM as the paying agency undertakes this function, in association with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG) and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht who have primary responsibility for certain environmental requirements.

The paying agency must:

  • Implement a system of on-the-spot controls
  • rovide for payment reductions or exclusions for non- compliance
  • Distinguish between negligence and intent and take account of repeated breaches (reoccurrence) of the requirements

In addition DAFM carries out nitrates inspections on behalf of the Local Authorities.

Inspection Programme

Cases selected for inspection are chosen by risk analysis, appropriate to that Cross Compliance measure, supplemented by a randomly selected component.

  • 1% of all beneficiaries are selected for full Cross Compliance inspections
  • 3% of bovine herds are inspected for bovine identification and registration requirements3%
  • of ovine/caprine flocks/herds are inspected for ovine/caprine identification and registration requirements which must include 5% of the national flock/herd

Inspections may include a number of SMRs and GAEC in different combinations depending on farm circumstances. Full Cross Compliance inspections include all 13 SMRs and 7 GAEC standards.

A checklist is used to verify compliance with each measure and these checklists can be reviewed on DAFMs website at: crosscompliance/


If an applicant is found to be in breach of Cross Compliance through negligence, a sanction of 3% of the support payment will generally apply but this can be increased to 5% or decreased to 1% depending on the extent, severity and permanence of the infringement. However, not
every breach of the requirements or standards results
in an automatic financial sanction. Where the breach is considered to be minor and remedial action is taken within the stipulated period, no sanction will apply.

Where the non-compliance is deemed intentional, a reduction of 20% shall generally be applied. The sanction can be increased up to 100%, or reduced to 15%, depending on the seriousness of the non-compliance. In extreme cases, the sanction can extend beyond the year of the finding.

In the case of an infringement of the same requirement, or standard occurring more than once, within a consecutive period of 3 calendar years, the sanction will be trebled and this is called Reoccurrence which was previously known as Repetition.

Local Authorities and other competent control authorities are required under EU/National law to report breaches of these Regulations to the Basic Payment Unit. The Basic Payment Unit will then determine if a sanction under the Basic Payment Scheme and other area-based schemes is appropriate.
Reviews and Appeals of Inspection Findings

Farmers who are dissatisfied with the outcome of Cross Compliance inspections, following the receipt of the interim notification (Notice Form), may firstly submit any additional information in writing to the local District Superintendent.

On receipt of the Formal Notice which outlines findings at inspection, the farmer can then seek a review in writing from the District Inspector. She/he may further appeal their case to the Agriculture Appeals Office, should they still be dissatisfied with the findings. Details on how to lodge an appeal can be found on


Important Notice! This website is provided for informational purposes only! It is a fundamental condition of the use of this website that no liability is accepted for any loss or damage caused by reason of any error, omission, or misstatement in its contents. 

Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.

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