Ombudsman rules in favour of farmer in Department dispute
The Forest Service decided to apply a non-farmer rate to a forestry grant, which meant that the farmer involved failed to qualify for the remaining three years of the grant. The Forest Service is a section within the Department of Agriculture.
The Forest Service refused to give the farmer rate as the man did not have an active herd number at the time.
However, upon examination by the Ombudsman, it transpired that the core issue was the fact that the local District Veterinary Office (DVO) delayed issuing a new herd number by 11 months.
The DVO accepted responsibility for the delay. If the man had received the herd number without the delay he would have been eligible to get the farmer rate of the grant.
“The Ombudsman was satisfied that the company suffered the adverse effect of not qualifying for the grant because of undue delay caused by another arm of the Department. For this reason the Ombudsman asked the Department to review its decision,” Ombudsman Peter Tyndall said in his report.
As a result, the Department agreed to review its decision and the man qualified for the farmer rate of the grant, making him eligible to claim annual payments for the remaining three years of the 20-year forestry grant.