Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has announced that payments of more than £6million have issued to farmers participating in the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS).

“I am delighted to confirm that we have processed 92% of all EFS Wider and Higher 2021 claims and where a payment is due to these businesses they have been made. Payments worth more than £6million have now been issued,” said Minister Poots.

“The remaining claims will be processed and payments issued as soon as possible, following appropriate checks and validations. Since the scheme started we have paid some £50m to participating businesses. That’s over 5,500 EFS agreements.

“The Environmental Farming Scheme is a key part of my department’s efforts to support the environmental stewardship carried out by farmers in Northern Ireland, improving and protecting the environment for us all.”

EFS supports farmers and land managers to carry out environmentally beneficial farming practices on agricultural land ranging from hedge planting to reducing grazing pressure on blanket bog habitat.

Payment claims for the 2022 scheme year can be made from 6 April via the Single Application and Maps Service.

Participants in this scheme must submit an EFS claim each year on their Single Application, whether or not a payment is due, to avoid financial penalties or the cancellation of their EFS agreement. Claimants are reminded that, as the EFS is a five-year agreement, work claimed for and paid on must remain available for inspection at any time during this period. Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the scheme may lead to penalties and recovery of any payments made.

Applications for tranche 6 of EFS Higher will open on 27 April 2022 and close on 13 May 2022. Applications for tranche 6 EFS Wider will open later this year.

Further information listed here.