Don’t Leave It Until The Last Minute
Now the dust has settled from the 15th May BPS deadline, here at PFK our attentions are turning to Countryside Stewardship mid tier applications. With the recent announcement of further increases in payment rates for various options for upland farms including making the payment for Low input grassland in the SDA areas the same as that for lowland grassland (£151 per hectare), CS is now a more attractive package to be looking at.
The deadline for applications is 18th August, which sounds a long way away, but it will be here before we know it. If you are thinking about an application then now is the time to act to ensure that everything can be properly thought through, and a cohesive application can be put together and submitted which will work with your farming system.
We are also awaiting full details of the long promised additional options under the Sustainable Farming Incentive. We are expecting an announcement anytime to provide the final details and the date when applications will be able to be made. When this does open these should be looked at by everyone as an SFI agreement can be run alongside exiting schemes including CS and also ELS / HLS agreements, as long as the options chosen do not provide grant funding for the same matter under the 2 different schemes.
With BPS payments reducing, now is the time to be looking at alternative income streams, and both CS and SFI offer funding to help plug the gap as BPS falls away, therefore do not leave it until the last minute for the August deadline, if you are contemplating a CS scheme then do get in touch now.