Poots announces launch of Tranche 5 for the Environmental Farming Scheme

Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has announced that the higher level of the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) Tranche 5, will open for applications from today.

The Environmental Farming Scheme Higher Level is for land with environmental designations, such as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI), and other areas of priority habitat.

To check if land is eligible, applicants should log on to the DAERA Online Services under Environmental Farming Scheme, where the fields for each farm business will be marked as either higher or wider level.

Only those businesses with eligible higher fields will be able to submit an EFS Higher application.

Launching Tranche 5 of the scheme, Minister Poots said: “The Environmental Farming Scheme Higher agreements help to bring our most important environmental sites under favourable management, and the scheme supports farmers in doing so.

“I have therefore taken the decision to open a fifth tranche of the Environmental Farming Scheme for applications from April 30, 2021.

“The application process must be completed online, and for those who may experience issues with access, my staff within the Environmental Farming Scheme team can offer assistance,” he added.

“As we emerge with hope from the current Covid-19 crisis, we need to be looking at protecting these sites over the next five years, and assisting farmers who are willing to take up this challenge.

“I also hope to be able to announce a further application period for the Environmental Farming Scheme Wider Level later this year,” he concluded.

Applications for Tranche 5 of the Environmental Farming Scheme Higher must be submitted online before the end of May 21, 2021.

If the number of applications exceeds the available resource, applications will be ranked, and those providing the highest environmental benefit will be selected to proceed.