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Natural England have announced new simplified Countryside Stewardship schemes, to encourage more farmers to enter their land into environmental management.
Unlike the Mid-Tier and Higher-Tier schemes, these new schemes, which open for applications in January, will be non-competitive, Natural England state the process will feature more efficient application process and from previous experience, we sincerely hope this is the case.
Applications for Mid-Tier have been lower than hoped for since it replaced the old ELS schemes, due in part to the overly bureaucratic nature of the application process and the onerous record keeping required, and these changes have been made to help more farmers who have come out of ELS get back into agri-environment schemes, continue good environmental management practice and maintain the income associated with these schemes.
There are four themes available, the Online Arable Offer, Lowland Grazing Offer, Upland Offer and Mixed Farming Offer, and each has a different range of option available to apply for. Applicants can apply for a scheme that includes as few as three options.
Ben Rogerson, farm business consultant at GSC Grays’ newly established Alnwick office says of the new schemes:
“The new Upland offer is particularly welcome as farmers who farm in the SDA have previously been effectively excluded from applying for a Mid-Tier scheme, due to the lack of suitable options available to them. I’d encourage those farmers that have decided against applying for a Countryside Stewardship Scheme in the past to take another look. A potential scheme could now be more attractive, and provide an extra source of revenue for the farm business in addition to conferring environmental benefit.”
For further information and help with applying for the new schemes, or for any other farm business consultancy advice please contact:
[team-member name=”Ben Rogerson”]
[team-member name=”Sam Dale”]