2023 Countryside Stewardship opens with adjustments to broaden the scheme

The 2023 Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme is open and Defra has urged farmers in England to use and use it as a bridge to the upcoming Environmental Land Administration (ELM) schemes.

Farming minister Victoria Prentis mentioned farmers and land managers in CS might be nicely positioned to enter the brand new Native Nature Restoration scheme, which might be launched by 2024.

“Now we have elevated fee charges by 30%, and made enhancements to the scheme,” she mentioned.

See additionally: Lump Sum Exit Scheme to open in April with as much as £100,000 accessible

“We wish to incentivise farmers to boost the pure surroundings alongside sustainable meals manufacturing – from restoring wildlife habitats and woodland administration, to preserving the character of our stunning countryside.”

Defra has made adjustments to broaden the scheme and make it simpler to use.

On-line functions at the moment are doable for the Mid Tier scheme to make the method less complicated and permit farmers to use for CS capital grants yr spherical.

Paul Caldwell, Rural Funds Company chief govt, mentioned the 2023 CS scheme is a “key mechanism” to help farmers and land managers by the transition interval and it could depart them nicely positioned to enter new schemes.

What’s on provide

  • Increased Tier These are five- or 10-year agreements to handle advanced land in environmentally important websites, commons or woodlands that require help from Pure England or the Forestry Fee.
  • Mid Tier 5-year agreements providing a spread of choices for continued land administration, such because the administration of species-rich grassland, and for particular environmental works equivalent to putting in fencing.
  • Wildlife Gives To assist farmers and land managers defend wildlife and protect the pure surroundings. They embrace the Arable Supply, the Lowland Grazing Supply, the Blended Farming Supply and the Upland Supply.
  • Capital Grants For particular environmental works on land, overlaying hedgerows, timber, orchards and to enhance air and water high quality. Capital gadgets embrace actions equivalent to fencing set up (including metallic fencing) and tree planting.
  • Woodland help To assist handle and defend woodland.

To use and discover out extra, go to the Countryside Stewardship web page

Natural alternatives

Adrian Steele, Soil Affiliation natural sector adviser, mentioned there have been huge alternatives for farmers who convert to natural, as fee charges rise for 2023 CS agreements.

Changing everlasting improved grassland and high fruit to natural will obtain double the earlier funds at a brand new fee of £150/ha.

Conversion to natural rotational land, horticulture and unimproved grassland will obtain about 50% greater than earlier than, with new charges starting from £76/ha to £602/ha.

“We’re happy to see this dedication to rewarding natural farming – it’s step one in direction of recognising that we have to work in concord with nature throughout the entire farmed surroundings,” mentioned Mr Steele.

Nevertheless, he mentioned he was disenchanted that charges for administration of natural improved everlasting grassland have been frozen at £40/ha for this yr and might be halved for 2023 agreements.

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