How just one calf cost a farmer his entire Genomics payment
Every year the Ombudsman deals with thousands of complaints from members of the public about the public services in this country, including farmers complaining about the Department of Agriculture.
In a recent case, a farmer complained to the Ombudsman about the 100pc penalty imposed on his 2016 Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) application.
The penalty had been applied because, in error, one calf out of 150 calves born on the farm that year had not been tagged and tested within the required 20 days.
The farmer considered the penalty to be excessive.
However, the Department said that under the BDGP scheme, all participants were required to be fully compliant with Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) Regulations.
These require that animals be tagged and tested within 20 days of birth and have samples sent to designated laboratories as soon as possible thereafter.
Failure to do so would result in no payment being made under BDGP in the following year, it said.
In this case, the animal was not tagged and tested until 46 days after birth, so no payment issued to the man in 2017.
However, changes had recently been made to the BVD Regulations which were being applied retrospectively. As the man was in compliance with the revised BVD Regulations, payment would issue to him shortly – provided he met all other requirements of the scheme.
The Ombudsman found that the Department had applied the terms and conditions of the BDGP Scheme correctly at the time the application was processed.
He also noted that due to the changes in the BVD Regulations, the man would now be paid.
There are 24,544 participants in the Beef Data and Genomics Programme in 2018. Payments to 21,673 of these commenced on the week of the 10th of December 2018.
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