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 2019, according to 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: “While 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 2018. This means the deadline by which farmers must have requested an application pack is now just days away. Requesting a pack does not mean you are obligated to apply, but keeps your options open if you are still considering it.”
Mr Trotter said in previous years farmers have needed to telephone Natural England in order to request their application pack.
“For 2018, new forms have been made available on the GOV.UK website, which allow farmers to request their application packs by email. At this stage, they can choose whether the packs are sent out in either an electronic format or by post.”
Mr Trotter said farmers have the choice of applying for either the full mid-tier scheme or one of four new streamlined ‘offers’ which have been introduced this year.
“Under these wildlife offers, farmers are required to pick from a short pick-and-mix menu of prescribed management options,” he said. “A big selling point of the simplified offers is that they are non-competitive, meaning that anyone who puts together an eligible application will have it accepted.
“However, a downside is that no capital items are included as part of the offers, so farmers wanting to apply for funding for work such as concrete yard renewal or the installation of farm tracks will need to make a standard mid-tier application.”
For more information about the Countryside Stewardship Scheme contact Ed Trotter in the Stamford office on 01780 484038.