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Minister Coveney announces the opening of the 2013 Single Payment Online Application Facility and confirms Closing Date for Receipt of Applications

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD, today announced the opening of iNet, his Department’s online application facility for the Single Payment Scheme, on 11 February and confirmed the closing date for receipt of applications as 15 May.

“I am delighted to be in a position to announce the opening of iNet for 2013, which is due to go ‘live’ next Monday”  the Minister said,noting that “this early opening date for iNet is very much in line with my commitment to maximise the use of technology for farmers’ benefit”. The Minister noted that over 65,000 applications were submitted online under the 2012 Scheme, representing an eight-fold increase since iNet was launched.

While the Minister also took the opportunity to confirm that the closing date for the 2013 Scheme will be 15 May, the latest date allowed under the governing EU regulations, he urged farmers and their advisors to avail of the early opening of iNet, rather than waiting until closer to the closing date: “With over 40,000 applications submitted under the 2012 Scheme with no change recorded from the previous year, there is huge scope for many applicants to submit their 2013 applications sooner rather than later”  the Minister noted.

“Initially, farmers and their approved agents were attracted to iNet by the fact that it guaranteed immediate, verifiable receipt by my Department of their applications and, through the system of in-built validations, significantly reduced the numbers of errors that could be made, thereby ultimately leading to speedier payment” the Minister explained. The introduction in 2012 of an on-line mapping element allowed farmers, or their agents, who needed to submit maps to the Department, to do so through iNet, thereby dispensing with the need to submit paper maps.

“I am very encouraged by the very positive response to this development, with over 8,000 maps submitted online last year” the Minister said, adding “I fully expect the figure to be significantly higher in 2013, given that the system has now proven itself”. The Minister urged all concerned to go the online route, as, in addition to the benefits mentioned, by virtue of the maps coming in online, immediate effect can be given to the mapping changes required, resulting in greater efficiencies for all concerned.

The Minister urged 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. “There is no down-side in registering for on-line either individually, or through an agent” the Minister explained, “as farmers still retain the right to submit a traditional paper application, should they so choose. However, I am convinced that those who do sign-up will be readily impressed with the systems user-friendliness”.

Concluding, the Minister also referred to the current campaign to encourage more farmers to sign-up for his Department’s text messaging service, with a mail campaign having been launched recently. “Currently some 70,000 SFP applicants are signed-up this service, which during 2012 was used to advise farmers of the SFP closing date, payments, Nitrates, etc,” the Minister explained, adding “with further enhancements due in 2013, most notably text notification of receipt of individual SFP applications, the benefits are very clear. There is no down-side to the service, so I would strongly urge all those not yet signed-up to do so immediately”.

 

Date Released: 06 February 2013