The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, has welcomed the fact that a record number of farmers had availed iNet, his Department’s on-line application facility, to lodge their 2011 Single Payment Scheme applications.
The 54,000 forms lodged on-line represent an increase of 25% over 2010 and an increase of over 600% since iNet was introduced in 2007, when just 7,500 applications were lodged on-line.
“I am delighted to see the figures for 2011 iNet,” the Minister said, “and am very encouraged by the continued increase in its usage, year on year. All concerned, farmers, their Agents and my Department, continue to gain from the benefits that the system offers and, as I mentioned recently, I would again strongly urge anyone who hasn’t yet decided to use the system to at least consider doing so in the future. A quick look at the website, www.agfood.ie, or phone call to the dedicated Helpdesk, Lo-call 1890 252 118, is well worth while” he added.
The Minister also took the opportunity to remind farmers that, while the closing date for applications has now passed, any applications lodged in the 25-day period after the closing date, that is, up to and including 10 June, will be accepted, but must be subject to the regulatory, cumulative, penalties, of 1% per working day that they are late.
Furthermore, it is also possible to lodge amendment forms under the 2011 Scheme up to and including 31 May 2011, without penalty.
“However, under EU rules, we are obliged to apply a penalty, at a rate of 1% per working day, where amendment forms are received after 31 May,” the Minister explained, adding, “the final date for receipt of late amendments is 10 June, after which they can not be accepted. Anyone who finds that they need to submit an amendment form should obviously do so immediately and, in any event, by 10 June at the latest, in order to avoid suffering any undue penalties”.
Concluding, the Minister confirmed that his officials will shortly be meeting all stakeholders, including Farm Body representatives, Teagasc and the Agricultural Consultants Association, to review the operation of the 2011 iNet, with a view to the continued refinement and development of the system.
“These meetings have been an annual feature since the inception of iNet” the Minister explained, noting that “they are central to its ongoing success and provide suitable opportunity for feedback, thereby allowing for the ongoing enhancement and refinement of the system, for the benefit of all concerned”.