EFS scheme to open 27th February 23 February 2017
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), has confirmed that the first tranche of the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) will open for applications on the morning of 27 February 2017 (via DAERA)
The EFS is DAERA’s new agri–environment scheme under the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020. It has three levels:–
- A Wider Level to deliver benefits across the countryside outside of environmentally designated areas;
- A Higher Level, primarily for environmentally designated sites;
- A Group Level to support co–operative action by farmers in specific areas such as river catchment.
The scheme has been designed to address specific environmental needs, primarily relating to biodiversity and water quality. It is more targeted and focused than previous schemes. It has also been designed to be straightforward for farmers.
The EFS is a voluntary scheme. Farmers and landowners with a DAERA category 1 or 2 Business ID and 3 hectares of land that is eligible for Basic Payment are able to apply. It is not a ‘whole farm’ scheme and offers the farmer choices. With the range of options available there should be something to suit any farm.
Applications will be prioritised to deliver most environmental benefit. Successful applicants will be offered a five year agreement to deliver a range of environmental measures.