The Ulster Farmers’ Union is encouraging members to consider applying for the second tranche of the Wider Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) when it opens for applications on Monday 20 August.
Ulster Farmers’ Union Environment chairman, Wilbert Mayne, has welcomed the announcement; “As in the first tranche, the scheme is focused on addressing specific environmental needs, the usual options are still available, including arable options, hedge planting and laying and fencing off watercourses. Farmers should be aware that it is not a ‘whole farm’ scheme but offers a range of options which most should be able to avail of. I would encourage farmers to consider the scheme and give themselves plenty of time for completing an application. It is important that farmers look at the various options carefully, check that they can meet all the conditions and do not over-commit themselves in terms of the amount of work that needs to be done within the timescales of the scheme.” said Mayne.
The UFU Environment chairman said that farmers also need to be aware that applications to the scheme must be made online. “The Union recognises that this is far from ideal given that access to broadband is still a significant issue in many rural areas. We had previously expressed our concern and DAERA have given us assurances that there are additional resources in place to assist farmers with this move to online only applications.” said Mayne.
The UFU would also remind existing EFS participants who have claimed for their agreement on the Single Application Form (SAF) in May that inspections are now under way. Farmers will be notified if they have been selected for inspection a few days before the actual visit and it is important that farmers who have submitted claims have met the conditions of the scheme and completed all necessary work.