支付的ore than £6 million have issued to Northern Irish farmers participating in the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS).

The payments cover 92% of claims made. The remaining claims will be processed and issued as soon as possible according to Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs,Edwin Poots.

“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

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 April 6, via the Single Application and Maps Service.

Participants in this scheme must submit a 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 April 27, 2022 and close on May 13, 2022. Applications for tranche 6 EFS Wider will open later this year.