UFU comment on future opening date of the Environmental Farming Scheme

Thursday, 8 September, 2016

The Ulster Farmers' Union has commented on the recent announcement by NI Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen that the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) is due to open in February 2017.

Ulster Farmers’ Union president Barclay Bell said, “Farmers, who have long awaited clarification from DAERA regarding the status of the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS), will be pleased to finally have a date to aim for. However, I expect there will be some disappointment on the ground with the delays to date and that we are still at least five months away from the scheme opening. From the outset, we have argued that this new scheme must be simple, practical, financially attractive and free from the problems that plagued previous schemes. The Union will continue to work to ensure that this new scheme delivers for both the environment and farmers.

“We also have concerns that the EFS is not covered by the recent announcement by the UK Treasury and what that means for those who enter into EFS contracts, however, there may be some reassurance in that DAERA is prioritising securing funding and implementing a ‘well-focused’ scheme.”