A farmer was successful in winning an appeal over the Department’s decision to apply a 20% penalty to his EU area-based payments because the total nitrogen (N) produced on the farm in 2016 exceeded the permitted derogation level of 250kg/ha by over 50kg/ha.

The farmer declared that the additional N produced was because manure was exported during 2016 and temporary grazing was also taken, which had been the case in many years.

According to the farmer, record three for export of manure and record five for temporary grazing were both completed on time and all previous derogations records where in order.

The farmer also added that he had gone to an adviser for the forms and visited the importing farmer and grazing farmer before posting both forms in an envelope once copied. However, neither registered nor express postage was used.

Department position

The Department claimed that it did receive record five, but not record three. In addition, the legal terms of record three state that details of export should have been submitted before 31 December 2016 and the only proof of postage acceptable is via express of registered post receipt.

The Department decided to penalise the farmer based on the fact that record three wasn’t received. Previous years showed that the farmer submitted both record three and five on the same date correctly.

Considering that the documents were shown to be received by the Department, and the farmer had submitted previous forms correctly and kept a spare copy of both forms, the appeal resulted in a decision not to penalise the farmer.

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