Countryside Stewardship Options

Although we may be tired of hearing it, the Covid-19 outbreak is unavoidably affecting every aspect of our lives and businesses. At Brooks Leney, we are looking to the future and thinking about how we can protect ourselves and our clients to ensure we are well prepared for the changes that lie ahead, both in terms of the general economy, but also changes to agricultural support payments.

Many of our clients claim the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and as has been proposed in the new Agriculture Bill, DEFRA plan to phase out BPS payments over the next few years and replace this with the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS). However, DEFRA decided to pause the consultation on ELMS on 8th April 2020 which one can only assume will push deadlines back. How can we attempt to bridge this gap between decreasing BPS payments and the potentially delayed introduction of ELMS?

For some, the Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme may offer an additional source of income during this period. The government have guaranteed funding will be available for new CS agreements until 2023 with the new ELMS in place from 2024. Likewise, any new CS agreement can be terminated early, if the agreement holder wishes to move into the new ELMS scheme. The CS scheme offers different ‘tiers’ meaning it may be easier to apply to your farm than you think.

  • Capital Grants: 2-year agreements made up of just capital items including the Hedgerows & Boundaries grant, Historic Buildings Restoration grant, Woodland Support grant.
  • Wildlife Offers: non-competitive scheme, 4 options to choose from depending which best suits your farm including arable, lowland grazing, mixed farming or upland.
  • Mid-Tier: competitive scheme providing a range of options and capital items.
  • Higher-Tier: competitive scheme with more complex management tailored to the individual site.

The following application submission windows apply:

  • Wildlife Offers: 11th February 2020 – 31st July 2020
  • Mid-Tier: 11th February 2020 – 31st July 2020 (Must apply for an online application pack by 30th June 2020)
  • Higher-Tier: 11th February 2020 – 1st May 2020 (Must request an online application pack by 31st March 2020)

Please get in touch with the BL team if you would like to discuss incorporating any of the above grants on your farm.

Useful links:

https://www.gov.uk/countryside-stewardship-grants?keywords=&grant_type%5B%5D=capital-item

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877408/CS_Higher_Tier_2020_v2.0.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/866957/Countryside_Stewardship_Mid_Tier_2020_v1.0.pdf