DEFRA has announced that the Countryside Stewardship Scheme is being simplified to make it easier for farmers and land managers to apply. Alan Falshaw (Agricultural Consultant) looks into the detail of what is involved in the new proposals.
Four New Offers
• Online Arable Offer
• Lowland Grazing Offer
• Upland Offer and
• Mixed Farming Offer
• Shorter application forms
• Streamlined evidence checks
• Non-competitive application process
All farmers who meet the eligibility requirements will get an agreement. This is a step change from the competitive process of previous applications. The options available for the four strands above have all come from the Countryside Stewardship Scheme and are more focused on the particular offer. The number of options available for each offer ranges from eleven to fourteen.
In addition, the popular Hedgerow and Boundary Grant has increased from £5,000 to £10,000 (maximum) per individual. £10 million pounds has been allocated to this grant alone.
As usual, the devil will be in the detail but farmers and land managers should view this as a further opportunity to access funding from the RPA whilst delivering positive environmental benefits.
For more information on Grants and Funding please contact your local consultant:
Northumberland and Borders: David Hume
Durham: Alan Falshaw
Yorkshire: Sally Horrocks
Farmers are being advised to take advantage of DEFRA’s £40 million rural grant. The new Countryside Productivity scheme is for farm technology and equipment investment that can help livestock, dairy, arable and horticultural farmers to improve farming productivity so that they can create a more sustainable and progressive business which, in turn, will support rural growth.
“It’s been tough going these past few years for farming. Farmers and growers have had to deal with volatile market prices, weather changes, and also preparation for the impact Brexit will have on the industry,” said David Hume, a George F. White Farm Consultant. “The demand for more sustainable and efficient farming businesses is greater than ever, and this new rural grant can really help farmers and growers to do this. The minimum grant contribution is £35,000 which (assuming a grant rate of 40%) makes the minimum project cost £87,500. This grant is therefore very much focused on larger projects that will aid business expansion or significantly reduce production costs.”
Producers can become processors
A good way to achieve sustainability is through diversification, and this scheme can help the farming sector to create a new revenue stream through setting up a new enterprise or expand existing enterprises. It provides a perfect opportunity for producers to also become processors. For example, a dairy producing milk traditionally sells it to a larger dairy marketing co-operative, however the smaller dairy farmer could now process their own milk and bottle it to sell locally or produce another dairy product to achieve a higher market price direct to the business.
Rural growth boost
“The main objective of the scheme is to facilitate and support the rural growth of progressive businesses, to create a sustainable rural community that is using the latest technology and techniques and making the most of opportunities available to improve profitability,” added David. “We’re working with farmers and growers across the region to help them move their farming business forward and secure greater sustainability, and this new funding opportunity will be central to how we approach this. It’s a very welcome boost for rural growth and we’re looking forward to helping clients diversify with help from the scheme, to secure their long-term farming future.”
If you’d like to discuss the Countryside Productivity Scheme in more detail and how it can benefit you and your business, please contact your local Farm Business Consultants:
Northumberland & Borders: David Hume on 01665 511986 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Durham: Alan Falshaw on 01388 529539 or email email@example.com
Yorkshire: Sally Horrocks on 01677 458201 or email firstname.lastname@example.org