AGRICULTURE, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots has visited an arable farm near Hillsborough to encourage eligible farmers/businesses to apply for the recently launched Protein Crops Scheme.
Mr Poots said: “I am pleased to have this opportunity to encourage farmers to apply for the Protein Crops Scheme for growing combinable beans, peas and sweet lupins. These crops will create a domestically produced source of protein for animal feed and provide agronomic benefits within arable rotations.
“The scheme is being introduced in 2021 and in 2022 on a pilot basis and then the approach will be refined for subsequent years to maximise the economic and environmental benefits.”
The Minister continued: “The timing of this arable farm visit is ideal as it comes at a time when farmers are finalising their cropping plans for this growing season as well as completing their Single Application.”
The payment rate for the scheme is £330/ha and the total area eligible for payment under the pilot scheme in 2021 and in 2022 will be capped at 1,000 hectares (ha). If more than 1,000 ha are determined as eligible, a linear scaleback will be applied to the determined protein crop payment area to reduce it to 1,000 ha. Payment will be made on the scaled back area.
The minimum area claimed must be at least 0.3ha and applicants may only claim on land planted in protein crops. Areas of protein crops sown in a mixture with cereals or other crops will not be eligible for the scheme and protein crops declared under the scheme must not be harvested until after July, 31, 2021.
Farms that have an approved Nutrient Action Programme Derogation are not eligible to apply to this scheme.
Concluding, Mr Poots said: “I would encourage everyone to consider the opportunities and benefits this scheme provides not only to boost farm incomes, but also the associated agronomic and environmental benefits.”
n Full scheme details as well as how to apply can be found at www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/area-based-schemes-2021-guidance-and-forms
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