The Agricultural Appeals Office is an independent body that looks at disputes between farmers and the Department of Agriculture concerning the administration of farm schemes.

Its recently released report for 2022 outlined to farmers the main places that mistakes are made when applying for and ensuring compliance with schemes.

Following the pointers can help you make sure your farm payments stay free from penalties.

General issues

  • The late tagging or registration of animals, including the non-completion of remedial actions on tagging or registration after the identification of a non-compliance during inspections.
  • Failing to ensure animal movement returns are made within required timeframes.
  • Not ensuring sufficient internet access exists to register or apply for a scheme online.
  • TAMS payments

  • An application should only be made seeking grant aid under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) after the person applying pays for the investment item themselves out of their own bank account.
  • Inspectors may look for bank statements and the cheque or electronic payment records to ensure that the individual claiming TAMS fully paid for the investment before applying.
  • ANC applications

  • Farmers should take care to actually apply for the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme when applying.
  • The most common non-compliance for those who are accepted into the scheme is to meet the minimum stocking density for 28 consecutive weeks.
  • Organic licence caution

  • Under the Organic Farming Scheme (OFS), the applicant is fully responsible for maintaining their organic licence and the appeals office has no statutory role regarding the awarding or withdrawal of an organic licence.
  • Those participating in the OFS should note if their organic licence is withdrawn or even if it lapses, the Department may clawback all aid paid under the organic scheme.
  • Noel Bardon