Just days left to submit EFS applications

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The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is encouraging farmers to apply to tranche two of the Environmental Farming Scheme Higher Level (EFS (H)) before the closing date of midnight 20 April 2018.

EFS(H) aims to help to protect and enhance areas of high environmental value and deals with priority habitats, species, and sites designated for their conservation importance. If you farm in these areas it is worth considering applying to the scheme.

Some 230 participants were accepted under tranche one and have a five year EFS agreement. They are already making their first of five claims for an annual payment to manage their land in a manner which will improve its environmental value. Payments vary considerably, dependant on the area of eligible land and the management options selected. However, for illustrative purposes these agreements will generate an average value of over £37,000 during the five year lifetime of the agreement.

Applications must be made online, with the process being straightforward as eligible land is clearly identified. Access is via DAERA’s ‘Online Services’ portal on the home webpage and a Government Gateway account is required.

Alternatively, applicants can register for access via a new identity assurance system. Applicants can also nominate a person to apply on their behalf, or they can make an appointment with a DAERA Direct Office to receive help. Therefore, don’t miss out on this opportunity to join the Scheme.

DAERA will prioritise all EFS(H) applications received and will then write to successful applicants to invite them to submit a specialist plan, known as a ‘site specific Remedial Management Plan’ – drawn up by independent environmental specialists. This will outline how their land in EFS Higher Level will be managed for the five years of the agreement to improve its environmental condition.

Information on the Scheme and on how to apply is available at: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/environmental-farming-scheme-efs-general-information-and-guidance, or by calling 0300 200 7848.