UFU welcome meeting with DAERA on Farm Business Improvement Scheme (FBIS)

Tuesday, 6 February, 2018

The Ulster Farmers’ Union recently met with officials from the Department of Agricultural, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to discuss the Farm Business Improvement Scheme (FBIS) Capital, Tier 1 tranche 1 and 2 and Tier 2 elements of the scheme. 

UFU deputy president Ivor Ferguson says, “The UFU welcome the recent application window for Tier 1 tranche 2. It is helping to deliver many improvements and efficiencies on farms.”

However, the UFU says farmers are less happy about elements of the Tier 2 scheme. Mr Ferguson says, “The UFU has already highlighted the frustrations of farmers around Tier 2, particularly the delays to the scheme. We are inundated with calls from farms asking for updates but only a few letters of offer have been issued at this stage.

The UFU have also previously asked for DAERA to consider price increases. “Quotations submitted to DAERA in good faith for Tier 2 of the FBIS are now a year out of date and prices have risen considerably and this has to be corrected by DAERA,” says the UFU deputy president.

The UFU deputy president continues, “We are satisfied that DAERA are now doing all they can to work towards issuing Tier 2 letters of offer to farmers.  However, we still have concerns around the ammonia issue which is impacting on some FBIS Tier 2 applications.  Many farmers submitted their application unaware of this issue because NIEA did not effectively communicate with the industry on this.  We believe this is one of the reasons for considerable delays in the scheme,” says the deputy president.

In relation to elements of the Tier 2 scheme, the UFU deputy president adds, “Looking ahead to Tier 2, tranche 2 lessons must be learnt by DAERA, NIEA, farmers and agents to ensure a smoother application and approval process and to do away with the considerable delays that have plagued tranche 1.”