UFU disappointed by low number of EFS offer letters
Wednesday, 3 July, 2019
The Ulster Farmers’ Union says it is encouraged by the positive response from farmers applying to the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) but it’s disappointed by the low number of offer letters issued by DAERA.
The comments were made following DAERA’s announcement that there were 932 applicants to the scheme but only 300 letters of offer issued.
UFU deputy president, Victor Chestnutt said, “The high number of applicants shows that farmers are keen to improve and create habitats on their farms. It is pathetic that DAERA has only offered one third of the applicants the opportunity to deliver on their environmental plans.”
The UFU says that since improving habitats is a key priority for the government, DAERA would have done well to increase efforts to ensure more farmers could avail of the scheme.
“Many farmers are now missing the opportunity to take part in this environmental scheme. DAERA are very quick to point out the environmental concerns relating to agriculture but when farmers step up to address the challenge, they are turned away.
“DAERA must learn from this. The last opportunity to apply to EFS schemes will be in 2020 and DAERA must ensure that all those who apply and are eligible should be offered an agreement,” said Mr Chestnutt.
The UFU is encouraging farmers who have been issued an EFS letter of offer to review it carefully and attend the CAFRE EFS awareness events in July to learn more about the application process including engaging an environmental planner.