Farming into the future - a brief review of funding February 2021

 

Basic Payment Scheme

BPS - this will continue until 2027 but cuts will be phased in. With funding cuts of 50% plus (dependent on claim level) by 2024, what is abundantly clear is that farm businesses need to address the challenge of farming without BPS sooner rather than later.

Do you need help or advise completing your BPS? We can help, give us a call.

Entitlements

The Rural Payments trading window for entitlements and land parcels is now live until the 17th May 2021. We are hearing of trades between £120-£140 plus VAT per hectare for England for Non-SDA entitlements, which still reflects a good return on investment if you need to increase the number that you currently hold.

We have some clients that require entitlements so if you have them available to sell please contact us and we will try to match up needs.

There are a number of areas where grants are available for farming businesses. These are:-

1. Countryside Stewardship

Countryside Stewardship will continue until 2023 and will still be the main source of environmental funding available to farmers and landowners. A new simplified Simplified Countryside Stewardship Scheme will be available this year - applications are expected to open shortly. A range of capital items and annual land payments are available.

The scheme is categorised into 4 distinct areas.

i) Higher Tier - is for land that requires more complex management tailored to the individual site;

ii) Mid-Tier - provides a range of options and capital items that together help to deliver a broad range of environmental benefits;

iii) Capital only grants - for woodlands, hedgerows and boundaries and management plans; and

iv) The Facilitation Fund - which supports individuals and organisations working with local groups of farmers and land managers, to co-ordinate their environmental land management.

Signing up to a Countryside Stewardship agreement now should put you in the best possible position to join ELMS. What’s more it will give you a viable, long-term source of income for providing environmental benefits as BPS payments start to reduce. If you are successful in securing a place in ELMS, then you can terminate your Countryside Stewardship agreement early, without penalty, at the end of an agreement year so you can join the ELMS scheme.

We are here to advise you on the scheme options that could fit your business.

ELMS

Pilot Schemes through the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) will be introduced through 2021/2022 such as the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Farming Investment Funds and Slurry Investment Fund etc.

Unfortunately, as yet, there is a lack of information and clarity on these schemes - the detail is missing but will hopefully become clearer later in the spring. Until more exact information becomes available, it is difficult to plan within this scheme.

We will be monitoring the Government guidance as it is published and advising our clients.

Trees and Forestry

The Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant is a Defra scheme delivered by the Forestry Commission. It is a capital grant, where applicants can apply for one-off payments for trees to be planted and associated infrastructure.

Another source of income from woodland is through the Woodland Carbon Fund (WCF). Landowners, land managers, local authorities and public bodies can apply to the Forestry Commission for support to plant large-scale productive woodland under the WCF.

Extra income from selling carbon

If your project is not cost-effective with the WCF grant alone, you might be able to earn further income by selling carbon credits from your project. In order to do this you need to register with the Woodland Carbon Code within 2 years from the start of planting. Validation/verification to this standard provides assurance of the carbon savings and access to the voluntary carbon market.

On a smaller scale - some Local Authorities have free trees available - it is well worth contacting your local Council as well as County Council to see if anything is available eg Free Trees for planting on private land in rural Leicestershire through Leicestershire County Council.

Water

There are some funding schemes through the Water Authorities such as the Severn Trent Environmental Protection Scheme (STEPS) - the scheme provides a wide range of options to farmers for infrastructure investments and land management items to improve water quality, soil health and the wider environment - it is worth checking if you fall into the catchment criteria

Other areas of water can be incorporated into a mid or higher tier Countryside Stewardship application.

Have you considered the Hedgerow and Boundary Grant Scheme? Or one of the four Wildlife Options of Countryside Stewardship which are non-competitive and easier for many farmer/land managers to incorporate into their farming business? Or a Mid/Higher tier scheme for a wider range of capital and annual options?

We can help advise you on the scheme that best fits your farming and environmental requirements.

Here at Shoulers we have the expertise and experience to guide you through the coming changes.

Please do contact Angela Wood at Shoulers 07988 270376 or a.wood@shoulers.co.uk or any of our team for any help you may require within your farm business including BPS, environmental schemes or advise on the future.

Disclaimer

The information contained in this brief review is correct at the time of printing but it cannot be relied upon in isolation from bespoke professional advice. Shouler & Son accept no liability or responsibility for any action taken without their written advice.

 

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