Online applications for this year’s Single Farm Payment (SFP) have opened, and will close on May 15, next.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD, made the announcment during the opening of ‘iNet’ – the online facility specific to SFP applications.
“I am delighted to be in a position to announce the opening of iNet for 2013, which has now gone live,” siad the Minister. “This early opening date for iNet is very much in line with my commitment to maximise the use of technology for the benefit of farmerw. Over 65,000 applications were submitted online under the 2012 Scheme, representing an eight-fold increase since iNet was launched.”
On the day, the Minister also confirmed the closing date of 15 May - the latest date allowed under the governing EU regulations. “I would urge farmers and their advisors to avail of the early opening of iNet, rather than waiting until closer to the closing date,” Minister Coveney added. “Over 40,000 applications were submitted under the 2012 Scheme with no change recorded from the previous year, so there is huge scope for many applicants to submit their 2013 applications sooner rather than later.”
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine went on to say that the system was both accessible and reliable and pointed to the fact that it had improved immensely since its incepetion a couple of years ago.
“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,” Minister Coveney continued. “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 fully expect the figure to be significantly higher in 2013, given that the system has now proven itself.”