The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has responsibility for food, farming, environmental, fisheries, forestry and sustainability policy and the development of the rural sector in Northern Ireland.  The Department assists the sustainable development of the agri-food, environmental, fishing and forestry sectors of the Northern Ireland economy, having regard for the needs of the consumers, the protection of human, animal and plant health, the welfare of animals and the conservation and enhancement of the environment.

DAERA provides a business development service for farmers and growers and a veterinary service for administration of animal health and welfare. The Department’s College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) delivers training and further and higher education courses in the agri-food sector.  

DAERA is responsible to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in Great Britain for the administration of schemes affecting the whole of the United Kingdom.  

DAERA has two Executive Agencies:

  • Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)
  • Forest Service

The Department also sponsors a number of NDPBs including the Agri-food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), the Livestock Meat Commission (LMC), and the NI Fisheries Harbour Authority (NIFHA).

Dr Denis McMahon Chair

Why DAERA is supporting Boardroom Apprentice

“The DAERA Departmental Board welcomes the opportunity to host an apprentice, seeing it as an opportunity to bring fresh eyes and experience to our own proceedings.  As a public sector organisation, taking part in the programme offers us the opportunity to gain a private or Third sector perspective on our business, which may result in learning points for our Members and organisation.  It also provides us with an opportunity to increase public awareness of the Department and the diversity of our remit beyond simply support for farmers as is often the public perception.

For the potential Apprentice, we would offer the opportunity to take part in public sector discussions which are often considered to be opaque and less than transparent, and which often receive limited publicity.  We are a large Government Department with a wide remit, covering agriculture, fisheries, environment, forestry, rural affairs and beyond, and engaged with a large variety of stakeholders.  We provide a variety of supports to industry, and also provide an educational facility developing the agricultural and industry leaders of the future.  We are also responsible for a number of Arms Length Bodies, adding a further governance dimension to the work of the DAERA Departmental Board, providing further areas of interest.”

Location of Board and Committee Meetings

DAERA’s Departmental Board meets on a monthly basis, at least 10 times a year.  Meetings take place in a number of locations across Northern Ireland, reflecting the diversity of our remit.  

There are currently 8 Departmental Board committees, with meetings held across the DAERA HQ locations (Ballykelly, Dundonald House & Klondyke).

Frequency and timing of board/committee meetings

The Departmental Board meets on the 2nd last Wednesday of the month, and takes place between 10am and 4pm.  (The December meeting will take place a week earlier.)

The frequency of Committee meetings differs for each committee: e.g. Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC) meets at least 6 times a year; the Resourcing and People Committee meets every 2 months; a number of other committees meet quarterly.  Each meeting is expected to last for half a day.

Date of Board Meetings (September 2021 – August 2022)

22 September 2021                             23 March 2022

20 October 2021                                  20 April 2022

17 November 2021                              18 May 2022

15 December 2021                              22 June 2022

19 January 2022                                  20 July 2022

16 February 2022                                24 August 2022

Committee of the Boards and meeting dates (September 2020 – August 2021)