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Hayes announces Department's new Forestry Online Services

Tom Hayes, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, today announced the availability of the forestry online services to facilitate online applications for 2014 forestry premiums. From 19th November 2013, applicants will be able to apply for their 2014 premium, if they have registered for the Department’s online services. The development of the online premium application service, initiated in 2012, also allows clients to view some of their payment history and maps of their forest plantations.

Announcing the opening of the online 2014 application process, the Minister of State advised, “This will be available to clients to claim the 2014 annual forestry premiums. By applying online, forest owners will speed up the premium payment process, with payments made within weeks of the submission of the application instead of having to wait for the bulk run in April, thus providing these owners with an earlier cash flow.

There are currently just over 8,700 forest owners registered for the Department’s online services and these clients will be able to submit future applications online, which leads to more prompt payments and reduced paperwork for the clients. After the introduction of the facility in late 2012, 4,123 premiums valued at €16.1 million were paid in January 2013, with a further 1,745 valued at €7.6 million paid before the April bulk run. In its first year of use, 36% of all 2013 premium applications received were submitted through the online service.

Commenting on the success of the online facility last year, which was developed by Department staff, Minister of State Hayes added, “The Department is committed to its current IT Strategy which called for the provision of online access to IFORIS for approved clients via the Internet. The introduction of the forestry premium online application facility is one the successful eGovernment initiatives undertaken by this Department, demonstrating its commitment to the delivery of improved online services.”

Forest owners who are not registered and who would like to avail of this online service can register online at www.agfood.ie

Note for Editors:

The IFORIS computer system was developed by the Forest Service of the Department for the processing of forestry pre-approval, grant and premium applications.  IFORIS also includes mapping of grant-aided forestry already planted. The system was subsequently expanded to IFORIS Internet (iNet) to provide facilities to forestry companies to submit and manage their clients’ forestry scheme applications online. The system for the payment of the annual forestry premiums up to 2012 had been totally paper-based. The relevant application forms to draw down their premiums used to issue to forest owners in January of each year.  This required the issuing of some 20,000 forms in respect of premiums, resulting in approximately €70 million in payments. The main payment run then followed in April, resulting in about €55 million being paid out on the basis of about 16,000 valid applications, with subsequent smaller payment runs thereafter as and when applications are received and queries resolved. The online premium application facility now means that applicants can receive their payment before the traditional April run.

Date Released: 05 November 2013