The Countryside Stewardship Scheme is now open for 2019 with four new offers available.
Introduced to complement the Higher-Tier and Mid-Tier offers, the new wildlife offers are said to be simple and quick to apply for and will allow even more farmers and landowners the chance to apply.
In addition, unlike the existing offers, all landowners who make a valid application for any of the four new packages will be guaranteed funding through the scheme.
So, what’s on offer for 2019:
- Four Wildlife Offers – aimed at helping farmers and landowners protect wildlife and preserve the natural environment. The following offers are available:
o Arable Offer
o Lowland Grazing Offer
o Mixed Farming Offer
o Upland Offer
- Water Capital Grant - open to those with land that falls within a high priority area for water. A two-year standalone Water Capital Grant is available to eligible parties
- Hedgerow and Boundary Grant - a two-year capital grant containing options for the restoration and management of existing boundaries
- Woodland Creation Grant - a two-year grant available all-year-round for the creation of new woodland areas with the support of the Forestry Commission
- Mid-Tier Scheme - a competitive scheme lasting five years, that offers a range of options and capital items that collectively help deliver a broad range of environmental benefits
- High-Tier Scheme - also competitive and lasting a minimum of five years and a maximum of twenty years, this is open to those farms containing more environmentally significant sites that require more complex management with the support of Natural England
Despite the offer on the table this year, we should not become too complacent or reliant on funding from the likes of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, due to the likelihood of Brexit bringing quite a few changes to the agricultural industry over the coming months and years.
We’re predicting that simplified versions of Countryside Stewardship will continue to be open to new applicants between 2020-2024. However, while no further details are available yet, there are suggestions that this is potentially the last year that the full Mid-Tier Scheme will be available. Therefore, those looking to benefit from this should act sooner rather than later.
Going forward, we’ve been informed that Countryside Stewardship and BPS will be replaced with a new Environmental Land Management Scheme which will be based on the theme of public money for public goods. Payment will be received for the delivery of environmental service and benefits based on outcomes or results. As an industry, we will wait to see how this pans out.
Although we’re fortunate enough to be able to benefit from the Countryside Stewardship Scheme this year, planning ahead for a life without subsidies needs to be made a priority for all of those involved in the farming industries. Seeking professional help now, rather than leaving it to the last moment is a worthwhile move to make sure your business is Brexit ready.
If you have any questions about this year’s Countryside Stewardship offers or planning ahead for a life without subsidies, contact the Moule & Co team on 01299 250184.