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2020 - The Year to Look at Countryside Stewardship

Thu 5 March 2020

The 2020 application window for the Countryside Stewardship scheme has opened, with plenty on offer for farmers. The following grants are available;

1.    Mid Tier

2.    Water Capital Grants

3.    Hedgerow & Boundaries Grant

4.    Woodland Support

2020 is the last year farmers will be receiving a full Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payment. It is therefore vital that farm businesses consider the impact of the reduced BPS payment now, with the average 200acre Non SDA farm no longer set to receive approximately £18,600/annum from BPS. This year is therefore more timely than ever to look at ways to make extra income and to enter into a Countryside Stewardship Scheme.

Mid Tier

A five year scheme with over 75 management options to choose from. Farmers can choose which fields to include or exclude from the scheme and can enjoy annual payments of up to £640/ha. In addition, 65 capital items are available including farmyard concreting (£27.14/m2) , covered manure stores and livestock handling buildings (£62/m2), planting new hedges (£11.60/m), wooden field gates (£390/gate), planting fruit trees (£22.50/tree) etc. Farmers can apply for an unlimited amount of capital works, subject to Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer (CSFO) approval. We have clients who we have secured over £100,000 worth of capital works for, which have made huge improvements to their farms.

 

In order to apply, CSFO approval must be sought for certain capital items by 31st May 2020, application packs must be ordered by 30th June 2020 and applications submitted by 31st July 2020.

From 2024 Countryside Stewardship will be replaced by the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS), full details of what this will entail are yet to be released.  The RPA have however confirmed that farmers within a stewardship agreement will be able to exit without penalty to enter into ELMS.

 

Water Capital Grants

A handy two year scheme in which farmers can apply for up to £10,000 worth of capital items. There are a over 40 capital items available including concreting of farmyards (£27.14/m2), yard drainage, livestock handling buildings and covered manure stores (£62/m2), fencing (up to £4.90/m2) and biofilters (£990/unit) etc. There are no requirement to place any annual management options upon the land. Simply do the work within two years and receive up to £10,000. Same deadlines apply as the above Mid Tier scheme.

 

Hedgerows and Boundaries

Another helpful two year grant of up to £10,000 for farmers to restore existing farm boundaries and hedgerows on their land. Items include Hedgerow laying (£9.40/m), Hedgerow gapping up (£9.50/m) and stone wall restoration (£25/m). There are no additional payments for fencing, but both sides of the hedge must be fenced. Deadline for applications is 1st May 2020.

 

Woodland support

Farmers and land managers can apply for woodland creation, management plan and tree health grants all year round.

Woodland creation provides funding to supply, plant, weed and protect young trees. To be eligible, a minimum of 3ha (7.4acres) must be planted with predominantly native trees, at a minimum density of 400 trees per ha. The grant will allow for up to 20% non native trees. The grant pays £1.28 per tree. As well as funding for the trees themselves, additional capital items such as fencing and gates can be applied for. In addition farmers can access the Woodland Creation Maintenance Grant which is a 10 year grant which pays £200/ha on an annual basis.

 

If you would like to use the professional services of McCartneys contact our Rural Experts:-

Knighton (Katie Davies/Lloyd Humphreys/Jenny Layton Mills) - 01547 528621

Kington (Gareth Wall/ Beth Hanson) - 01544 230316

Ludlow/Worcester (John Uffold/Phillip Blackman-Howard/Bradley Towell) - 01584 872251

Craven Arms (Joanna Wall) - 01588 672385  

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