Here you will find useful information, guides, Q&As and forms for the following Area-based Schemes that are currently available from DAERA:

Basic Payments Scheme (BPS) BPS image

The BPS is the largest area-based scheme available in Northern Ireland, and was introduced in 2015 to replace the Single Farm Payment. Farmers wishing to apply for BPS must:

  • submit an online Single Application each year; and
  • be actively farming at least 3 hectares of land; and
  • hold an equivalent number of BPS ‘Entitlements’.

More information on Entitlements can be found here: Entitlements & Transfers.

Please visit BPS Financial Ceiling, for more information.

Guides and FormsTwo blocks with words advice and Guidance

Some useful information on the Basic Payment Scheme, with common Q&As and the relevant amendments form.

Enviromental Farming Scheme (EFS)

The Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) offers participants a 5-year agreement to deliver a range of environmental measures and has three levels:

  • Higher Level - primarily for environmentally designated sites and other priority habitats
  • Wider Level - to deliver benefits across the countryside, outside of environmentally designated areas. EFS Wider is no longer available for new applicants.
  • Group Level - to support co-operative action by farmers in specific areas such as a river catchment

The Scheme objectives are to restore, preserve and enhance biodiversity, improve water quality and mitigate against climate change.  EFS applications which deliver the most environmental benefit for these objectives will receive priority entry into the scheme.

Guides and FormsTwo blocks with words advice and Guidance

Further Information and guidance on EFS can be found at:

Protein Crop Scheme (PCS)

Bowl of Green Beans

In 2021, DAERA introduced a farm payment for particular nitrogen fixing crops, (referred to as Protein Crops). The Protein Crops Scheme (PCS) is an additional payment to farmers for growing beans, peas and sweet lupins. Farmers do not have to claim the Basic Payment Scheme in order to be eligible for PCS, however land used to grow protein crops may be claimed for both BPS and PCS. Dual use claims are not permitted, i.e. both schemes cannot be claimed on the same field parcel by different farmers.

Protein crops are defined as:

  • Spring Peas
  • Spring Field Beans
  • Winter Field Beans
  • Spring Sweet Lupins
  • Winter Sweet Lupins 

The forage crops clover, alfalfa and lucerne are not eligible for aid under this pilot scheme.

More information can be found in the Guidance below.

Guides and FormsTwo blocks with words advice and Guidance

Young Farmers' Payment (YFP) / Regional Reserve (RR)

Young Farmers' Payment (YFP)

Young Female Farmer

YFP provides an annual top-up to the BPS for those applicants who meet the YFP eligibility / evidence criteria. “Young farmers” are defined as:

  • Natural persons who are setting up for the first time an agricultural holding as Head of Household, or who have already set up such a holding during the five years preceding the first submission of an application under the BPS and who are no more than 40 years of age in the year of submission of their first application for the BPS.
  • Head of Holding means the applicant must be exercising effective and long-term control over the business in terms of decisions related to management, benefits and financial risks.
  • Legal persons may be granted access to the scheme if they meet similar conditions.

From the 2022 scheme year, the length of time a farm business can receive the YFP (even if there is a change in the Head of Household during that period) is limited to five years.

More information can be found in the Guides and Forms section below.

Regional Reserve (RR)

The Regional Reserve is used to provide entitlements for Northern Ireland farmers under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) in certain situations. The number of entitlements allocated and/or topped up from the Regional Reserve is limited to 90 per business.

From 2022, DAERA will take into account any entitlements that have been transferred out by lease, sale or gift, either temporarily or permanently, by a business during the year of application to the RR and the previous two years when calculating any allocation of new entitlements from the RR. The allocation of new entitlements to the business will be reduced by the same number as was transferred out of that business.

The RR must be used to allocate payment entitlements to Young Farmers (YFs) and New Entrants (NEs). DAERA may also use it to make awards to farmers who were prevented from being allocated entitlements as a result of a force majeure/exceptional circumstances and farmers eligible for revised entitlements following a court ruling or administrative act by DAERA.

Further information on RR and relevant forms can be found in the Guidance section below.

Guides & FormsTwo blocks with words advice and Guidance

Woodland Forestry Grants

The Forestry schemes listed below can all be claimed using the Single Application:

The following Schemes are separate paper based applications which are currently opened:

  • Woodland Investment Grant (WIG)
  • Forest Protection Scheme (FPS)

These schemes are currently closed:

  • Small Woodland Grant Scheme (SWGS)
  • Forest Expansion Scheme Annual Premia (FEAP)
  • Farm Woodland Scheme (FWAS)
  • Farm Woodland Premium Scheme (FWAP)

    Further information can be found on Forestry Grants at DAERA Forestry Grants.

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