A new digital forestry service has been announced today to facilitate online applications for 2014 forestry premiums.

The service will be online from 19th November 2013. The Department say 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.

The system for the payment of the annual forestry premiums up to 2012 had been totally paper-based. The Department say the online premium application facility now means that applicants using the service can receive their payment before the traditional April run at www.agfood.ie

Announcing the new service Tom Hayes, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry 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.”

According to the Department 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. In its first year of use, 36% of all 2013 premium applications received were submitted through the online service.

Commenting on its success last year, 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