Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen has announced a series of information events will take place in preparation for the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) which is due to open at the end of February, subject to necessary approvals.
Miss McIlveen said: “The multi-million pound Environmental Farming Scheme is an important part of our agricultural agenda. The aim of the scheme is to restore, preserve and enhance biodiversity, improve water quality and mitigate climate change.”
The scheme will offer participants a five-year agreement to deliver a range of environmental measures and will operate at three levels:
- A higher level, primarily for environmentally designated sites and other priority habitats;
- A wider level to deliver benefits across the countryside, outside of environmentally designated areas;
- A group level to support co-operative action by farmers in specific areas such as a river catchment.
The Minister added: “It is very important to note that applications for this scheme must be made online. Potential applicants who do not already have a Government Gateway account should make arrangements now.”
The Minister has unveiled a series of information events across Northern Ireland and urged potential applicants to begin preparing for the scheme by attending one of the events.
The Minister added: “These DAERA awareness events, which begin on 1 February, will provide important information about the scheme, its requirements and how to apply. I would strongly recommend that anyone considering applying should attend one of these events. They will also give applicants the opportunity to ask questions in advance of the opening.”
The dates are as follows, with sessions starting at 1.30pm, 4.00pm and 7.00pm:
- 01.02.17 – CAFRE, Loughry Campus, Tyrone
- 03.02.17 – CAFRE, Enniskillen Campus, Fermanagh
- 06.02.17 – The Armagh City Hotel, Armagh
- 08.02.17 – Roe Park Resort, Limavady, Londonderry
- 09.02.17 - Millbrook Lodge, Ballynahinch, Down
- 13.02.17 – CAFRE, Greenmount Campus, Antrim
- 17.02.17 – Silver Birch Hotel, Omagh, Tyrone
Full details of the scheme, and how to apply, will be publicised on the DAERA website in advance of the EFS opening.
Notes to editors:
- Potential applicants who have never registered online with Aphis or applied online before will require a DAERA access key and Government Gateway Account as well as an email address. To find out more contact the DAERA Online Services helpdesk on 028 9442 6699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Follow us on Twitter @daera_ni.
- All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or email DAERA Press Office: email@example.com. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.