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Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA has welcomed the positive uptake amongst farmers of the pilot Protein Crops Scheme (PCS).

With applications to the Scheme closing on 17 May, Minister Poots has announced that 95 farmers have planted protein crops this year, an increase of 300% on 2020.

Minister Poots said: “The United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union provides us with the freedom and flexibility to introduce new agricultural policies which better reflect the specific needs of the farming industry in Northern Ireland. I was therefore pleased to secure funding for this new and innovative Scheme, which we are piloting in 2021 and 2022, as the first step in this process.

“The first year of the Protein Crops Scheme pilot has proved a great success, with an increase in the number of farmers planting Protein Crops of 300%, and an increase in the total area sown of 450% compared to 2020 year.

“The Scheme will encourage the domestic production of plant protein crops, to help feed our livestock herd. This will have multiple benefits, including substitution of products we currently import from abroad, promotion of sustainable crop rotation and disease management practices, and diversification of our agricultural industry."

Minister Poots continued: “As the pilot will be running for another year, I would encourage all farmers to consider the opportunity that this scheme represents, and consider the potential of sowing protein crops in future years.”

Notes to editors:

  1. Applications for Protein Crops Scheme payments are now closed for 2021. Applications for payment next year can be made via the 2022 Single Application, which will open on 01 March 2022.