News & Blog

 

2023 will be the final year that farmers can apply for Countryside Stewardship agreements before the roll out of the Environmental land management schemes (ELMS).  

Entering a stewardship scheme can help prepare and position your business well for the future of subsidies.

Changes to the Basic Payment Scheme 

The payments will be reduced by the following percentages in 2021-2024:

Payment band

  Scheme Year  
  2021 2022 2023 2024

Up to £30,000

5% 20% 35% 50%
£30,000 - £50,000 10% 25% 40% 55%
£50,000 - £150,000 20% 35% 50% 65%
More than £150,000 30% 40% 55% 70%

2022 mid-tier Countryside stewardship applications

Capital items included as part of a mid-tier stewardship application will still be capped at £120,000 for air and water quality options. There is a cap of £50,000 for options for boundaries, trees and orchards.  

Mid- tier applications close on 29 July 2022.  

Capital items to improve water quality will now be considered in both high and medium priority areas. However,, please do note that the scheme is still competitive.

If you just want to apply for capital items, you can do this through the capital grant offer element of the stewardship scheme. There is currently no deadline currently for this type of application. However if applications exceed the funding available then the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will give six weeks’ notice for this scheme to close.  

The total amount of funding under this scheme is £60,000. This is broken down into three sections with a £20,000 allowance for each: 

  • Water quality
  • Air quality 
  • Boundaries, trees and orchards

Capital items to improve water and air quality will now be considered in both high and medium priority areas, but again this is a competitive scheme.

A five year Countryside stewardship agreement

There are many options that can form a five year environmental stewardship agreement.  Many of these can fit into a range of farming practises. These options bring environmental and land benefits, including helping to improve soil structure, reducing the risk of runoff and soil erosion and reducing artificial nitrogen usage.

The most popular options are:

  • Low fertiliser input on grassland
  • Cover crops 
  • Legume and herbal leys
  • Over winter stubble
  • Field margins

Capital only agreements

The capital only scheme consists of the same options that have been available in the past.

Popular capital spending options in the past are:

  • Fencing
  • Hedge Laying
  • Concrete yard renewal
  • Covering over yards, silage clamps, slurry stores
  • Cow tracks

Some of these options require prior approval from Catchment Sensitive Farming, so it is important to plan early to have the required approval to support your application.  

Key Dates

• Basic Payment Scheme entitlement transfer window open now until 16 May 2022.

• Basic Payment Scheme application window 15 March 2022 – 16 May 2022.

• Countryside Stewardship Revenue claim submission window 15 March 2022 – 16 May 2022.

• Countryside Stewardship capital only application window is open until funding has been allocated. RPA will give six weeks’ notice prior to application window to close.

  • Applications requiring Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSFO) must have submitted form to relevant CSFO officer at least 10 weeks prior to wishing to submit application.

• Countryside Stewardship Mid-tier application deadline 29 July 2022.

  • Application packs requested by phone deadline 27 May 2022.
  • Application packs requested online by 30 June 2022.
  • Applications requiring Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSFO) must have submitted form to relevant CSFO officer by 20 May 2022.
  • Applications submitted by 29 July 2022.
If you are interested to find out more and to discuss the potential options for your business, please contact Nikki Smale at our Holsworthy office on 01409 253297 or 07377413619.

By Nikki Smale, Agricultural Consultant