The department is relocating to Ballykelly, out in the countryside of County Londonderry.
Work will start immediately on the pre-construction design phase of the project, with building work expected to start in July.
Agriculture minister Michelle O’Neill said: “The appointment of this team is an important next step in the delivery of this £20m investment. Around 600 public sector jobs will relocate to the northwest bringing huge benefits to the village and wider community. The investment will also sustain 155 construction jobs, including many apprenticeships, during construction work which is due to be completed in December 2017. JH Turkington’s will now work closely with my officials to agree the design and construction plan for the new three-storey HQ. I look forward to seeing the work progress and am confident it will be ready to receive the first members of staff at the end of 2017.”
Sinn Féin politician Michelle O’Neill took the decision to move her department to the former Shackleton Army barracks in Ballykelly in 2012.
First minister Arlene Foster said: “Relocating government department headquarters away from Belfast demonstrates the executive’s commitment to rural communities in Northern Ireland. The construction of the new headquarters offers businesses, in both Ballykelly and the wider area, huge economic opportunities.”
JH Turkington chief executive Trevor Turkington said: “We are thrilled to have won the contract and to be part of the team delivering this fantastic building in such a beautiful rural location. It is just the type of challenge we have successfully delivered for other clients so we are very excited to be part of this major relocation project for DARD.”