DAERA Issues First Payments Under EFS

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced that the first payments under the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) have commenced.

Over 1,200 farmers are participating in the Scheme and around 800 of these will be receiving payments totalling over £5million before Christmas.

A DAERA spokesperson commented: “Participants of the EFS have undertaken a significant amount of positive environmental work and commitment and we are delighted that payments to reimburse farmers for their investment have started to issue.  The EFS is a completely new scheme with full end-to-end automation and to be in a position to make payments as intended at this time is a reflection of the hard work and effort put in by DAERA staff.

“We will be continuing to process claims and issue payments into the first quarter of 2019 and this will be done as quickly as possible.  Payment of inspection cases will commence in February. This is due in part to the extension requests made earlier this year and other checks on claims which must be completed before we can make a payment.”

DAERA has urged farmers who have yet to complete the on-line training element of the Scheme to do so as soon as possible so as not to delay their payment.

Claimants are reminded that as EFS is a five year scheme, work claimed for and paid on must remain available for inspection at any time during this period.  Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the scheme may led to penalties and recovery of any payments made.  Claims can always be reduced by submitting a SAF3 to DAERA.