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The outcome of Defra’s ‘rapid review’ of ELMS, initiated last September, was published at the end of last week (26 January).

Having digested the policy paper, Angela Wood, Rural Professional Associate, Shouler & Son, shares her initial thoughts.

The revised ELMS - and the schemes within its framework - are turbo-charged versions of the original that will not add to farmers’ bottom line.

While there are improved payments in many of the existing Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme options, most costs still won’t be fully covered.

In addition, schemes within the ELMS framework will not assist farmers when it comes to ongoing increased input costs.

It is difficult to see a high output, highly productive, profit-orientated farming business benefitting from many of the options for ELMS payments.

But this must not be seen as such farming operations being anti-environment. It is just that they cannot easily fit their business model within the rigidity of the new schemes.

The result of the ELMS review is not a surprise but, at Shoulers, we join much of the sector in not being impressed either.

However, farmers are notoriously resilient. And we conclude that they will have to rise to the challenge and make ELMS work as far it can for their businesses.

For more information on Shouler & Son’s rural services and professional advice on eligibility for this or any of the new Defra funding schemes under ELMS, contact Angela Wood, email, tel 01664 560181 or see.