The 2021 scheme year will not be used a historic reference year for future farm support schemes in Northern Ireland, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has said.

“It isn’t our intention to use things in this particular year, which will then lock people into circumstances for many years to come,” he told MLAs on Thursday.

The chair of Stormont’s agriculture committee, Declan McAleer, told the minister that some landowners are holding off agreeing conacre arrangements due to uncertainty around future schemes.


“My advice to farmers and landowners is to proceed and do what’s right for them in the year 2021 and not to be trying to second guess things for future years,” Minister Poots responded.

“If people previously let land and, if that is something that they want to keep doing, that is something that they should continue to do,” he added.