Northern Ireland's network of DAERA Direct offices will open to the public again from Monday (June 7).

The 12 local offices, which are run by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), offer advice to farmers such as regarding herd and flock numbers, scheme applications, grants, etc.

The offices will be open from 9:00a.m to 4:00p.m each day, closing for an hour for lunch between 12:30p.m and 1:30p.m.

However, services will be available on a strict appointment-only basis for the time being.

DAERA Direct Offices closed to the public in March 2020 to facilitate the implementation of Public Health Agency (PHA) guidance on Covid-19 in relation to social distancing measures and to help reduce the transmission of the virus.

However, back-office processing continued and customers have been able to conduct their routine business online, by telephone or by depositing papers in a secure post box at their local office.

Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots said: “In line with the NI Executive’s Pathway out of Restrictions, I have agreed that the DAERA Direct offices should reopen to customers from June 7, on a strict appointment-only basis.

"The arrangements are targeted at those customers who require face-to-face assistance with complex transactions.

“Other routine business with DAERA should continue to be conducted online, by telephony or by delivering documents to the post box at the local office. I am satisfied that this limited reopening can be managed within the existing Executive and public health guidelines and will be kept under review.”

Before attending a DAERA Direct Office please book an appointment by contacting your local DAERA Direct office on: 0300-200-7840.