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Shouler & Son has published the spring edition of its Rural Digest in which its rural services professionals round up and comment on the latest key policy and funding scheme announcements affecting farming & estates sector clients.

The first quarter of this year (2022) has seen the firm’s rural team working with clients and peer professional advisors to signpost the best way forward as the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), as a mainstay funding framework, winds down to be replaced by the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS).

This seismic shift in central funding and subsidies from being anchored around food production to environmental objectives has been rolled forward in this first quarter by a number of policy initiatives announced by Defra since the end of last year (2021).

The task for rural and farming operators and their business advisors is to manage any transitory arrangements as appropriate, as well as explore viable alternative or complementary revenue streams.

Angela Wood, as rural professional associate, leads Shouler & Son’s expertise in the area of available funding and schemes.

In the newly published Rural Digest she gives an update on the arrangements for ongoing schemes and those forthcoming schemes for which details are available.

Since the beginning of the year the rural services team has worked with clients on successful applications to access the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF).

The firm is currently preparing Countryside Stewardship (CS) schemes that will see clients benefit from the uplifted rates as of next year (2023) and submissions for the latest round of capital grants applications under this scheme which opened in February.

The rural team is also working on the next round of BPS applications which opened last month (March) to a deadline of 16 May.

Confirmation of the rates within the Sustainable Farming Initiative (SFI) came at the end of March with applications opening in June.

Shouler & Son’s rural experts are also advising clients on the BPS Lump Sum Exit Scheme for farming operators who wish to leave and/or retire from the sector where applications are invited from now (April) until September.

In summarising developments in the rural and farming sector this spring Angela Wood said, “The concerns and uncertainties of the cost of living crisis we started with at the beginning of the year have been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and the wider ramifications of conflict in the state known as the ‘breadbasket of Europe’.

“Uncertainty does, however, present alternative opportunities too. In such a time, independent expert advice is invaluable and, we believe, will always prove its worth.”

A copy of Shouler & Son’s Rural Digest spring edition is can be downloaded from shoulers.co.uk/articles/rural-digest-spring-2022.

For more information on Shouler & Son’s rural services and professional advice on eligibility for Defra grant funding contact Angela Wood, email a.wood@shoulers.co.uk, tel 01664 560181 or see shoulers.co.uk/pages/agricultural-services.