The Countryside Stewardship scheme has been revived once again for 2022 but with a number of changes this time around writes agricultural surveyor Jamie Batt.

With the ongoing reduction to BPS payments, uncertainty over the new ELMS scheme, issues with Farming Rules for Water coupled with agricultural inputs at an all-time high, farming businesses have certainly been put under a lot of pressure. As a result, farmers appear to be taking advantage of the funding available with the scheme seeing a noticeable spike in demand.

The Countryside Stewardship Scheme has three main elements:
 Mid-tier
 Higher-tier
 Capital Grants

Mid-tier
The Mid-tier scheme remains largely unchanged with a large choice of options of management and capital options available. However this year, the payment rates on many of the management options have increased making the scheme appear more attractive. Some of the options available under the scheme include growing whole crop cereals, growing herb rich grass leys, low-input grassland and growing wild-bird cover. In addition, there is a wide range of capital options to be taken advantage of, these include concrete yard renewal, roofing over outside yard areas/silage clamps/slurry stores, stock fencing and much more.
The application window is now open with a deadline for submission of 29th July 2022.

Higher Tier
Higher Tier agreements can be very complex agreements, but usually higher yielding and are also supported by funding for various capital items such as scrub control, livestock handling facilities and woodland improvements. The deadline for submission is 29 April 2022.

Capital Grants
The Capital Grants application window is now open all year round reducing time pressure on farmers at this often very busy time of year. The maximum grant available for any application is £60,000. However, there is a limit of £20,000 within each item grouping as shown below.
Boundaries, Trees and Orchards    (£20,000 maximum), Water Quality (£20,000 maximum), Air Quality (£20,000 maximum). Options available include: Concrete Yard Renewal - £27.14/m2
 Roofing - £62/m2
 Livestock and Machinery Tracks - £33/m
 Fencing - £4 - £4.90/m
 Slatted Floors - £72/m2
 Hedge Laying - £9.40/m

If you are interested in entering the Countryside Stewardship scheme or have an existing agreement that is coming to an end and want to consider Higher Tier, Mid Tier, or the Capital Grants Scheme, please contact: Somerset/Dorset – Jamie Batt - 01935 423474 / 07766 301468 and for Devon & Cornwall - James Wotton – 01404 46222 / 07899 955935.