Farmers from across Northern Ireland have been notified recently regarding their applications to the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) Higher. This Agri-Environment Scheme provides funding to farmers in priority areas to manage their land in a way which benefits nature and the environment. It provides funding for a range of different options and has been targeted to support environmental land management in some of NI’s most important landscapes.
During the application window, over 900 applications were made to the scheme, demonstrating a desire from farmers to adopt sustainable land management practises within their businesses. However, of this only 298 have been accepted onto the scheme.
NFFN believes that more farmers should be supported to farm sustainably and to access adequate funding for this work. At present, the EFS Higher provides the best mechanism in achieving this and can play a vital role in rewarding environmental land management. This will also play a crucial role in helping farmers to prepare for a new policy focused on environmental delivery. However, NFFNNI is disappointed that a relatively small proportion of eligible applicants have been successful in their scheme applications. NFFN are engaging with the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to address this issue and enable more farmers to avail of agri-environment support in upcoming rounds.