Prepare now for the re-opening of EFS Wider

Date published: 03 August 2021

DAERA Minister, Edwin Poots MLA, has announced that Tranche 5 of the Wider Level of the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) will open for applications on 16 August 2021.


EFS Wider Level applies to land outside areas of environmental designation and as such will be available to most farmers in Northern Ireland. Applicants simply choose which options they feel best suit the needs of their farm business and then submit an application for the land they will have control of for the five year duration of the scheme.

Launching tranche 5 of the Scheme Minister Poots said: “EFS supports farmers to implement environmentally beneficial methods on their land. It aims to protect and enhance biodiversity and water quality, and mitigate against climate change by sequestering carbon.

“I have therefore taken the decision to open a fifth tranche of EFS Wider for applications from 16 August 2021. The application process must be completed online, and if anyone requires help with this process, my staff within the EFS team can offer assistance on 0300 200 7848 or via email at”

Applications for tranche 5 EFS Wider must be submitted online before midnight on Friday 10 September 2021. 

Get ready now!

Consider the options for your farm

Although there will be 4 weeks to submit an application it is advisable to start thinking about what options might be best suited to your farm.  Full details of the range of Options are available on the DAERA website or contact your local DAERA Direct office for more information. 

Unlike previous agri-environment schemes, the EFS is designed so that the majority of the works are completed and claimed in the first year. This means that you should be confident that you can complete all the work you apply for within the stated time periods.

How to apply

As the application can only be made online there may be a few steps you can take now to ensure that you are ready to make an application. For example you will need access to DAERA Online Services and you must also have a current email address that you can access. If you already have a Government Gateway ID and Password that you use for the Single Application and Maps Service, then you can use the same log in details to access the EFS online application.   

If you do not already have access to DAERA Online services via Government Gateway you will have to register by first creating a Government Gateway account online, then verifying your identity at a DAERA Direct office and finally, logging in to verify your new Government Gateway account.

Download more information

Alternatively, you may wish to use an agent who can represent your business online.

For further information or advice please telephone 0300 200 7848 or email:

Notes to editors: 

  1. It is anticipated that EFS Tranche 5 agreements will start on 1 January 2022 and run for five years to 31 December 2026.
  2. Some amendments have been made to the scheme for Tranche 5. The Option ‘Hedge laying including two protective fences’ and the capital item ‘Drinking trough pipework’ will not be available. Applicants will, however, still be able to avail of funding for both drinking troughs and drinking trough bases in association with the applicable EFS Wider Options.  
  3. Over 5,000 EFS agreements are in place after four tranches.
  4. The Environmental Farming Scheme is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
  5. Follow DAERA on Twitter and Facebook.
  6. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or via email.
  7. 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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