Agriculture Minister Gordon Lyons MLA has announced the introduction of a pilot payment scheme for protein crops.
Following a consultation, ‘The Northern Ireland Protein Crops Payment Pilot Scheme’ will be introduced for the 2021 and 2022 Scheme years.
Announcing his decision, Mr Lyons said: “I have listened to the views expressed by stakeholders during the recent consultation and I’m pleased to announce that I have instructed my officials to introduce a pilot payment scheme for protein crops for both the 2021 and 2022 Scheme years.
“The Scheme will focus on growing combinable beans, peas and sweet lupins. Those crops will create a domestically produced source of protein for animal feed and provide agronomic benefits within arable rotations.
“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.”
The payment rate for the scheme is £330/ha and the total area eligible for payment under the Pilot Scheme 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 31 July 2021.
The scheme will be reviewed for subsequent years.