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Countryside Stewardship – Funding Guarantee & Scheme Administration Update

Countryside Stewardship - field planted with saplings

HM Treasury confirmed last year on 24th July 2018 that, even in a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario, funding is guaranteed for Countryside Stewardship (CS) agreements signed by 31st December 2020 for the life of the agreement, provided they offer ‘good value for money’ and are ‘in line with domestic strategic priorities.’

Delivery of CS (and Environmental Stewardship) was subsequently transferred to the Rural Payments Agency effective 1st October 2018.

The remaining deadline for this year’s submissions is 31st July 2019 for Offers and Mid Tier Schemes, and our Rural Team are busy finalising submissions on behalf of our clients.

Future of Farming Payments
BPS and CS will phase out and be replaced by ELM (Environmental Land Management), which will be rolled out nationally 2025-2027.

Between 2021 and 2027 it is expected that BPS will be decreased each year but as yet the structure of the annual decrease has not been confirmed.

Countryside Stewardship funding

As can be seen from the above infographic originally sourced from the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV), it is only a matter of time before farmers will be paid “public money for public goods”.

We therefore strongly advise that you consider an environmental scheme on your holding, not only to guarantee a source of income throughout the inevitable turbulence of Brexit but also to ensure that you are “ahead of the game” from 2025.

For further information and assistance please call our Rural Team on 01608 661666.

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New Countryside Stewardship – Streamlined Options

Bee on wildflower

Bee on wildflowerFour new Countryside Stewardship (CS) offers have been introduced for farmers and land managers in order to boost biodiversity and help protect and enhance farmland and the countryside.

The improvements that have been made make it much simpler for farmers and land managers to apply.

The four new Offers – Online Arable Offer, Lowland Grazing Offer, Upland Offer and Mixed Farming Offer – will provide tailored options covering the full range of different farm types, so farmers and land managers can deliver environmental benefits no matter where they are or how they farm. The Arable offer is also available to apply for online, making it even simpler still.

These new offers will complement the existing Higher Tier as well as the Mid-Tier offer which has been enhanced and will continue to be available, supporting more comprehensive agreements delivering organics, historic, water quality, wet grassland and traditional orchards.

Blue Farm Tractor in fieldThe huge benefit of the new offers being quicker and easier to apply for will save farmers valuable time. It is also a non-competitive scheme, so all farmers who meet the eligibility can enter into an agreement.

The popular Hedgerows and Boundaries Grant will also receive additional funding from 2018, with farmers and land managers able to apply for a maximum grant of £10,000, up from £5,000 in previous application rounds.

Scheme handbooks with more detail on how to apply and the best options for different farms have been published – click here – and detail the different options for each of the four offers.

The request for application form deadline is 31 May 2018, with the deadline for submissions being earlier than usual, 31 July 2018.

Please contact Sam White at our Shipston Office for more information or 01608 661666.