Agreements under the ‘Wider’ element of the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) have now been issued to farmers the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has confirmed.
One thousand four hundred and thirty five applications were received when the scheme opened in February. Following an eligibility process, 1,388 agreements have been issued.
Farmers must log on to DAERA’s online services portal before 31 July 2017 to accept their agreement. For those who may experience difficulties accessing their agreement online, staff at DAERA Direct offices can provide assistance.
A DAERA spokesperson said: “We have issued a total of 1,388 agreements to all valid EFS Wider Level applicants.
“Farmers should log in to DAERA Online Services using their Government Gateway ID and password before 31 July 2017 to view and accept their agreement.
“The EFS Wider Level 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 you wish to accept the agreement, then simply click on the “Accept” button no later than Monday 31 July 2017, otherwise the agreement will be withdrawn.”
To access DAERA’s online services go to http://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/services/daera-online-services
For those farmers who may experience difficulty accessing their agreement online assistance will be available.
The spokesperson added: “DAERA Direct Offices will offer assistance to farmers during the month of July to access, view and accept their agreement. A member of the business must bring their Government Gateway ID (12 digit ID) and password with them when they come to the office. A member of staff will use this to access their portal and provide a hard copy of their EFS Agreement, Schedule and associated documentation. This must be signed and dated before the scheme acceptance button can be pressed. The agreement must be accepted no later than 31 July 2017.”
DAERA Direct offices are open from 9am-12.30pm and from 1.30pm-4pm Monday to Friday, excluding the public holidays of 12 and 13 of July.
For queries on EFS Wider Level Agreements, please contact the EFS Advisory Service on 028 8675 7507 or the DAERA Helpline number 0300 200 7848. Alternatively you can send a query via email to email@example.com
The Ulster Farmers’ Union welcomed the announcement.
UFU environment chairman Wilbert Mayne said: “It is welcome news that the Environmental Farming Scheme wider level agreements have been issued. We would encourage farmers who have been successful to carefully review their agreements and ensure they fully understand the requirements.
“If you are having difficulty accessing your agreement online, help is available from your local DAERA direct office.”