The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has urged farm businesses to accept their Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) agreement online by 27 March 2020 in light of the reduction in face-to-face meetings at DAERA Direct Offices.
1903 Wider Level agreements and 209 Higher Level agreements have been issued to those farm businesses who applied to join the EFS in 2019.
To accept the EFS agreement farmers must log on to DAERA’s online services through their Government Gateway or their NIDirect Account portal. The deadline to accept the agreement offer is 5.00pm on Friday 27 March 2020, otherwise the scheme agreement will be cancelled
A DAERA spokesperson said “The EFS Agreement and Schedule documentation for each business can be viewed by selecting the Environmental Farming Scheme option within DAERA Online Services. Businesses should read their documentation and check the scheme Terms and Conditions. If a business wishes to accept the agreement then simply click on the “Accept” button no later than 27 March.”
“Appointments should only be requested for complex queries that cannot be resolved by telephone. Where a member of the business needs help in their local office they should phone the Helpline to make an appointment and bring their Government Gateway ID (12 digit ID) & password with them. A member of staff will use this to access their agreement. There is also an on-line video which explains the acceptance process on the DAERA website.”
A letter has also been issued explaining some changes to the scheme payment rates and gives advice on what to do next.
For queries on EFS Agreements, please contact the EFS Advisory Service number 028 8675 7507 or the DAERA Helpline number 0300 200 7848, or email your query to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors:
1. The Environmental Farming Scheme is funded under the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme.
2. The Scheme supports farmers to undertake measures which help climate mitigation, support biodiversity and improve water quality through a range of options.
3. The EFS is a voluntary 5 year scheme.
4. Our DAERA Direct offices are currently open from 9am-12.30pm and from 1.30pm-4pm Monday to Friday although this may be subject to change.
5. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or email DAERA Press Office. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.
7. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or via email. Out of office hours, please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.