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Countryside Stewardship could help UK farmers to offset drop in BPS income

Staff Writer |
Signing up to the Countryside Stewardship Scheme could help farmers bridge what looks to be the inevitable funding gap which will open up when basic payments start to fall in 2021, but before the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) is widely available in 2024-25.

Given that the money to fund ELMS will only be released in steps, as Basic Payments are phased out over the transition period, it seems likely that there will be restrictions on the numbers able to join the new scheme in the early years.

The government’s own timetable suggests that ELMS pilots should start in 2020, but it may not be fully up and running until 2025 – halfway through the timetable for the phasing out of direct payments.

Claire Noble, assistant land agent in the Morpeth Office of Strutt & Parker, said: “Countryside Stewardship has had its issues over recent years, but farmers should not rule it out without considering how it might benefit their business.[break]

The 2019 application period for CSS is due to open on 18 February.

The deadline for requesting applications packs for the mid-tier scheme is 31 May, with an application deadline of 31 July.

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