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
The Government opened (on Friday 18th December 2015) an emergency fund to help farmers affected by the recent flooding in December 2015 to restore damaged agricultural land with the application period closing by the 1st April 2016.
Flood-affected farmers in Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Northumberland who have suffered uninsurable losses can apply for Farming Recovery Fund (FRF) grants. The size of the grants range from £500 to £20,000 per claimant, with any active farmer or landowner who has the responsibility of the restoration of the land able to apply.
The grants can cover a range of works including re-seeding grass fields, soil restoration, removing flood debris, restoring agricultural drainage and restoring access/track ways.
The Rural Payment Agency (RPA) will run the fund on behalf of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Supporting evidence is required showing the need for the grant and the damage caused by the recent floods and any potential applicants should take photos showing the extent of the damage as soon as possible. Should the repair work have already commenced or been completed the grant is still available, subject to certain criteria being satisfied.
If you would like further information please contact:
Hamish Smales (Alnwick) on 01665 511981
Sally Horrocks (Bedale) on 01677 458201
Tom Mason (Shiptonthorpe) on 01430 876015