Category Archive: Agriculture

Grange Farm (Barnby Moor) Ltd

George F. White are delighted to bring to the market an opportunity to acquire a well equipped commercial arable unit with borehole irrigation and underground infrastructure along with full farm steading including grain storage and drying floor extending to approximately 185.17 hectares (457.56 acres).

Grange Farm (Barnby Moor) Ltd lies between Retford and Bawtry on the A638 Great North Road with Doncaster, Sheffield and Lincoln all within comfortable commuting distance.

For more details on this opportunity click here.

Countryside Stewardship Scheme

The Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) is now open for applications for agreements with a 1st January 2022 start date. Farmers applying in the current application window will have a guaranteed income stream, with annual payments until 2027. As BPS is set to reduce, considering a Countryside Stewardship agreement may be a welcome alternative source of income for many farmers. The last date to submit an online application is 31st July 2021.

It is important to note that options for reducing ammonia emissions and water capital options will be delivered through the Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) initiative, the latest date to request support and approval from your Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer for the Mid-Tier application is 18th June 2021.

As part of Defra’s efforts to improve and simplify the scheme, there have been some key changes to the Countryside Stewardship scheme this year. Countryside Stewardship land management options no longer have requirements that include prescriptive dates, sward heights and mixtures. Instead, the options have aims which the agreement holder must seek to achieve. This change gives farmers more flexibility in managing certain aspects of the options and more control over the successful management of their options. The changes made to the Countryside Stewardship may find more farmers in favour of the scheme where previously the scheme had not suited their business structure.

Countryside Stewardship is an excellent stepping stone to prepare your business for the future Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, which is due to be rolled out in 2025. The Government guaranteed that farmers entering new Countryside Stewardship agreements starting on 1st January 2021 or later will be given the option to end their agreement early in order to enter the ELM scheme if they wish.

2021 sees the addition of five new options for Mid-Tier, below.

  • ED1 – Educational Access
  • AQ1 – Automatic Slurry Scraper
  • AQ2 – Low Ammonia Emission Flooring for Livestock Buildings
  • TE4 – Supply and Plant a Tree
  • TE5 – Supplement for use of individual tree-shelters

The capital grant offer has been expanded to cover 67 capital items available under full Mid-Tier agreements. The capital funding available under a full Mid-Tier agreement has also changed, with a funding cap of £120,000 being introduced for 2021. This will limit the funding available in any single application.

Other changes – WD4 – Management of Wood Pasture and Parkland, has been changed to allow for use in Upland areas, with an increased payment rate for upland farmers. Eligibility for the upland option UP2 – Management of rough grazing for birds, has also been widened to encourage greater uptake and improve the upland offer.

If you think Countryside Stewardship could be for you, please get in touch with a member of the George F. White Farm team on 0333 920 2220 to discuss how to get the most out of the scheme on your farm.

Countryside Stewardship Scheme opens

Today saw the opening of the application window for Countryside Stewardship agreements. Farmers are encouraged to review the various opportunities as changes have been made to widen the range of options available and also making it easier to apply.

Amongst the 67 available options are new opportunities focused on improving water quality, air quality as well as reducing ammonia emissions. A full schedule of the changes is set out below:

  • New options to help improve air quality, reduce ammonia emissions and improve water quality.
  • An improved Countryside Stewardship capital grant offer, making 67 options available which can sit alongside a Countryside Stewardship Wildlife offer
  • New wood pasture options in the uplands, at payment rates suitable for upland applications, providing a mosaic habitat of grassland, scrub, and trees
  • The Countryside Stewardship capital offer to be available to Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agreement holders, where the options are compatible
  • Improved woodland options, including bringing bracken control and stone wall options into woodland management and combining Woodland Creation and Woodland Maintenance grants
  • Increased number of capital items that farmers can apply for using the Rural Payments service, covering water capital, hedgerows and boundaries, and air quality
  • Expanded eligibility criteria for the upland option UP2 (management of rough grazing for birds), enabling more land managers to access this option and further improve the upland offer

In addition to the above, the level of funding has been increased to £60,000, capped at £20,000 within three of the funding groups.

Opportunities available under the Country Stewardship Scheme 2021

Capital Grants – Boundaries Trees & Orchards, Water Quality, Air Quality (deadline 30th April 2021)
A two-year capital only agreements to deliver specific environmental outcomes, including hedgerows and boundary improvements, delivery of water and air quality objectives.

Some of the options available under the Capital Grant, which are new or were previously only available under the Mid-Tier agreement, include:

  • Boundaries, Trees, and Orchards
    • planting new hedges
    • wooden field gate
    • tree surgery
  • Water Quality
    • fencing, sheep netting, and rabbit fencing
    • gateway relocation
    • pond management
  • Air Quality
    • automatic slurry scraper
    • low ammonia emission flooring for livestock buildings
    • supply and plant a tree
    • supplement for use of individual tree shelters

*Some options underwater and air quality require approval from a Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer (CSFO) and are only available if in a high priority water area.

Mid-Tier (application deadline Friday 30th July 2021)
A five-year agreement providing a mixture of revenue payment options, supplements, and capital items to achieve simple and effective environmental benefits.

Higher-Tier (application deadline Friday 30th April 2021)
A five, ten, and in some cases 20-year, agreement with a range of options, supplements, and capital items for environmentally significant sites, commons, and woodlands.

Woodland Creation and Maintenance Grant (open for applications all year)
Funding to supply plant and weed young trees over a minimum of three Ha. The woodland creation and woodland maintenance options have been brought together so that one automatically leads into the other.

Woodland Management Plan (open for applications all year)
A Capital grant to apply for a one-off payment to create a 10-year Woodland Management Plan over a minimum of three hectares. When you have achieved a grant agreement you have two years to create the Woodland Management Plan which must then be approved by the Forestry Commission.

Wildlife Offers – Arable, Lowland Grazing, Mixed Farming, Upland (application deadline Friday 30th July 2021)
Non-competitive five-year agreements for specific farm types with a set of options and minimum requirements. These have been designed to help farmers and land managers to protect wildlife and preserve the natural environment. These offers are quicker and simpler to apply for than the mid-tier and high-tier schemes, and they are not scored, meaning that you will get an agreement if you make a valid application.

In addition to the above the schemes include:

  • Expanded educational access provision to farmers in Mid-Tier agreements to let school pupils visit farms for educational experiences and for care farming visits.
  • Broadened advice surrounding the Catchment Sensitive Farming scheme; additional advice on air quality and flood mitigation, as well as on diffuse water pollution.
  • The potential to run a further round of the Facilitation Fund, to help groups of farmers work together to improve the natural environment at a landscape scale and achieve greater improvements than individual holdings could on their own.

To discuss the above in more detail, for advice or assistance with an application contact our Farm team on 0333 920 2220.

Online Mediation

On 25th January 2021, HHJ Philip Kramer (specialist civil judge in the Business and Property Courts of Newcastle upon Tyne (BPC)) hosted the 12th Business and Property Court Forum event via Zoom. Such events have become a regular feature of North East business and legal community since its launch in June 2018. Customarily they are held as in-person events with an opportunity for networking followed by a topical presentation on a range of legal subjects which are a feature of the business conducted in the BPC.

Since the COVID-19  pandemic, we have successfully transitioned the events online which have allowed the continuous programme to run and have actually engaged with a much wider audience in higher numbers and beyond legal professionals across more industries and sectors so that it can genuinely be said that the forum has fulfilled its vision of appealing to businesses as well.

The focus of the evening was online mediation and three speakers delivered presentations.

In his session, Andrew Entwistle from George F. White highlighted the key reasons for engaging with experts in online mediations and outlined the benefits that experts can bring to help create successful outcomes for the parties to mediations.

Andrew Cawkwell from Manolete Partners PLC provided a negotiator’s perspective in connection with online mediation including practical experience derived from many online mediations that the insolvency litigation third-party funder has carried out since March 2020. The talk focussed on key tips to be successful in online mediation such as advanced preparation and considering the pros and cons of the same as well as things to remember both in advance of and on the day of the mediation itself.

Rob Langley provided the Mediator’s perspective. His illuminating presentation provided the audience with some very practical guidance on online mediation. He stressed the importance of meetings online with the Mediator beforehand, to test that the technology was working, to build the relationship with the Mediator, and to “acclimatise” to the online format.

The speakers’ presentations can be found by clicking here.

The session concluded with the speakers providing answers to a number of questions posed by our live audience. Such was the interest level in the topic of online mediation that 235 delegates had signed up before the event. A really insightful poll was launched to our audience towards the end of the event and the following results were delivered in real-time which indicated that 93% would consider online mediation after lockdown. The poll result highlighting the importance of online mediation as a format to resolve legal disputes and underpinning that it is a form of ADR which is very much here to stay.

If you would like more information on how we can help with dispute resolution or mediation call 0333 920 2220.