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Minister Coveney reminds farmers that the closing date under the 2011 Single Payment Scheme is Monday, 16 May 2011

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today reminded farmers that the closing date for receipt of applications under the 2011 Single Payment Scheme is Monday 16 May. "It is vitally important that farmers ensure that they lodge their applications by this date, in order to avoid penalties that must be applied where applications are received late" the Minister said. "Given the significance of the Single Payment to farm income, it is imperative that farmers allow themselves enough time to complete the form accurately and make sure it's submitted on time" he added.

In this regard, the Minister welcomed the increased uptake in usage of iNet, his Department’s on-line application facility for the Single Payment Scheme. "I am delighted to see that on-line applications under the 2011 Scheme are currently running significantly ahead of the same point during the 2010 campaign" the Minister said. "This is very much in line with the trend each year since the introduction of iNet in 2007. Indeed, at this stage, the numbers lodged on-line in 2011 have already exceeded those submitted on-line in 2010" he added.

"The continuing increase in uptake is testament to the recognised benefits of iNet" the Minister said, outlining that, due to the system of in-built validations on the on-line facility, the options for applicants to make minor errors on their applications is dramatically restricted.  The Minister also referred to the new option for 2011 whereby relevant maps can now also be submitted on-line with the application. "This is further evidence of the ongoing commitment to maximise the use of technology for the benefit of farmers" the Minister said.

The Minister noted that the numbers of applications submitted on-line each year has shown a significant annual increase since the facility was introduced in 2007, with 7,500 lodged on-line in 2007, 19,500 in 2008, 35,000 in 2009 and 44,000 in 2010.

"I would certainly urge all those who have yet to do so, to give it serious consideration. Don't forget, even if you don't feel you have sufficient IT skills yourself, you can avail of the services of an approved Agent, who will do the necessary inputting on your behalf" the Minister said, adding "Even though it may be too late for this year, I would strongly recommend that anyone considering availing of the on-line facility to make enquiries via the website, www.agfood.ie or, alternatively, the dedicated Helpdesk at Lo-call 1890 252 118'.

Date Released: 10 May 2011