Farmers have just days left to submit a request for a Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) mid-tier application pack if they want to apply for an agreement starting on 1 January 2020, according to land and property specialists Strutt & Parker.
The mid-tier CSS package offers payments to farmers for looking after their land in a way that enhances the environment – by conserving and improving biodiversity, reducing flood risk and protecting soil and water quality.
Ed Trotter, farming consultant in the Stamford office of Strutt & Parker, said: “Although applicants have until 31 July in which to submit their application, they can only do so if they have requested an application pack by 31 May 2019. This means the deadline by which farmers must have requested an application pack is now just days away. Anyone requesting a pack is not obliged to put in a full application, but getting hold of a pack now does keep the option open to them.”
Mr Trotter said requesting an application pack was easy as they can be downloaded through the online Rural Payments Service, or farmers can request to receive an application pack in the post by contacting Rural Payments Agency (RPA).
The mid-tier scheme is an excellent opportunity for landowners to apply for grant funding for capital items such as planting new hedgerows or erecting livestock fencing to protect environmental features or prevent water pollution, he said.
Farmers might also want to consider applying for options such as a two-year legume fallow (AB15) or enhanced overwinter stubble (AB6) as an alternative to break crops like oilseed rape or field beans, given they are becoming increasingly difficult to make a margin.
“Signing up to an environmental scheme now means landowners can lock into an income stream until 2025, which will be helpful as BPS payments start to be phased out from 2021,” he added.
For more information about the Countryside Stewardship Scheme contact Ed Trotter on 01780 484038.