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Teagasc Online SPS Applications up 20%

Teagasc increased by 20 per cent the number of applications submitted online for the Single Farm Payment on behalf of farmers this year, bringing the figure to almost 25,000. The application deadline for the SFP scheme closed on Monday, 17 May, with late applications, subject to penalties, accepted by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, up to the end of May.

In a move to reduce errors and to assist in speeding up the processing of applications, Teagasc advisers increased the use of the online system this year. In 2008, 25 per cent of all SFP applications submitted through Teagasc were completed online; this doubled to 50 per cent in the 2009 application period and continued to increase this year. The application process in 2010 was more complex due to mapping and the exclusion of ineligible features in each land parcel. Teagasc advisers using the online system found it helpful in reducing the paper work and the risk of simple errors.

Dr Tom Kelly, Teagasc, Director of Knowledge Transfer, said: “Teagasc advisers have put in a huge effort in all areas of the country over the last few weeks to help farmers meet the closing date for both the Single Farm Payment scheme and the new AEOS scheme. More advisers are now using the online option for the SFP for their farmer customers which has helped the flow of work and also ensures that our farmer clients are paid on time.“

A full calendar of advisory events was held simultaneously in each of the Teagasc Advisory Area Units around the country during the busy scheme application period, allowing farmers access the most up-to-date business and technology advice during the critical spring period. While the advisory service is focused on helping clients improve grass production and utilisation on livestock farms, this was a challenging task during the inclement spring weather period. Teagasc dairy advisers have also been busy with clients in the new Dairy Efficiency Programme, through discussion groups and events.