The 2019 Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) including Mid-Tier and Higher-Tier schemes, Wildlife Offers, standalone Water Capital Grants and Hedgerow & Boundary Grants are now open for farmers and land managers. Chris Cary summarises the options and time-frames for the various schemes.
Mid-tier & Higher-tier schemes are much the same as previous years and allow farmers to choose from all available multi-year options and capital items to form an agreement which delivers local environmental benefits.
Remember, this scheme is competitive so you application will be scored and ranked. Also if you hoping to include capital grants within your application, some options such as ‘RP28, Roofing of sprayer wash-down areas, manure storage areas, livestock gathering areas, slurry stores or silage stores’ require endorsement from your local Catchment Sensitive Farming officer (CSFO) alongside approved planning permission.
Application packs must be requested by 31st March 2019.
Wildlife offers are available once again and include a range of packages which should provide for all types of farm, and provide farmers and landowners the opportunity to take a minimum of 3% of land out of production. From experience, there are very few farms that don't have areas of unproductive land or awkward corners which could be taken out of management for the purposes of this scheme, in return for attractive payments.
For example, a wild-flower plot is paid at £539 per hectare, wild bird food at £640 per hectare and supplementary winter feeding at £632 per tonne. These offers are non-competitive meaning that as long as you meet the eligibility requirements you will receive an offer. The only negative of these Wildlife Offers is that they do not provide the option of Capital Works grants.
Therefore if you require funding from Capital Works Grants you should be considering a Mid-tier or Higher-tier application over a Wildlife Offer.
Application packs must be requested before 31st May 2019.
Standalone Water Capital Grants are available for capital items such as roofing for dirty water yards, concrete yard renewal and many more are available to landowners who fall within the ‘water quality high priority areas’. You can check to see if you are in a high priority area here or contact your local Symonds & Sampson office.
In order to qualify for grant payments you are required to arrange a visit from your local Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer who will offer their advice and endorse your application.
In comparison to Mid-tier or Higher-tier schemes, Water Capital Grants are capped at £10,000 which could cover, for example, 368sqm of concrete under the option for concrete yard renewal.
Application packs must be requested and your local CSFO must have been contacted before 31st May 2019.
Hedgerow & Boundary Grants are standalone grants under countryside stewardship. The application window for H&B Grants is now also open and offers farmers and landowners up to £10,000 to restore boundary features. Options including hedgerow laying and stone wall restoration.
The application deadline is 3 May 2019.
Symonds & Sampson have an specialist team of agents across the region who can assist with the applications for rural grants and subsidies. Click here for more information.