Muir announces payments of more than £9m to Environmental Farming Scheme participants

Date published: 16 April 2024

The Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Andrew Muir MLA, has announced payments totalling £9.4million to Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) participants have commenced. It means the total amount paid out under the scheme has hit £66m.

Minister Muir said: “I’m delighted to say that 93% of claims for the 2023 EFS payments were made yesterday. The remaining claims will be processed and paid as soon as possible. This additional £9m brings the total amount paid through EFS since 2018 to support biodiversity, water quality and climate mitigation to £66m.

“As a result of this scheme, over 58,000 hectares of key priority habitats are favourably managed, and over the last six years, 1000 km of hedges have been planted or enhanced, 2,700 km of waterways protected and half a million trees planted.

“I am determined to support our farmers and the wider agriculture industry and this scheme is a great example of how we can work together to help each other deliver and implement a range of environmental measures and sustainable farming practices to improve biodiversity, water quality and respond to climate change.”

In addition, EFS claims for 2024 can now be submitted. Claims are submitted using the DAERA Single Application and Maps Service, which opened on 9 April 2024 for most agreement holders. Some businesses will need to wait until 29 April 2024 to submit a claim as their agreements are being updated after they made a claim reduction, or after an inspection.

EFS participants must submit a claim each year on their Single Application. Capital items such as fencing must be completed and claimed for in year 1, and the amount maintained must be also claimed in years 2 to 5. Participants are encouraged to complete work as soon as possible as extensions cannot be granted for poor weather.

Online training is now available for EFS Agreement Holders whose agreements started on 1 January this year. The training is compulsory and must be completed by 30 November 2024. Information on how to complete online training.

Those submitting a year 1 claim are reminded that a compulsory Claim Confirmation will be required in December this year. This allows EFS agreement holders to make reductions to the amount claimed on the Single Application where necessary, or to confirm that all the work claimed for in the spring has been completed.

As EFS is a five-year agreement, work claimed and paid on must remain available for inspection at any time during this period. Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the scheme may lead to penalties and recovery of any payments made.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Help and advice on EFS is available by contacting the EFS Advisory Service on 0300 200 7848, or email your query to:
  2. Complete the training at:
  3. Follow DAERA on X formerly called Twitter and Facebook.
  4. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office: or telephone: 028 9016 3460.
  5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours’ service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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