Grant funding: will the grass be greener post-Brexit?
Rural Surveyor Guy Wilson explores the prospects for grant funding and stewardship both present and future.
In this turbulent time for agriculture, the prospects for stewardship and grant funding are just another unknown. At present, funding is available under Countryside Stewardship for Higher-Tier and Mid-Tier agreements (including four simplified Wildlife Offers) and for Capital and Hedgerow and Boundary grants, for which the Treasury have guaranteed funding where agreements are signed before 31 December 2020.
While the deadline for ordering applications has now passed, those with application packs can now look at the detail and assess how the benefits of the scheme can be maximised to their farm. There are particularly lucrative options for capital items and farms situated in a catchment-sensitive area, but be mindful that the deadline to submit the application is 31 July.
Looking ahead, Countryside Stewardship will be replaced by a new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) by 2025, for which little is known except an emphasis on delivering “public money for public good”.
However, Countryside Stewardship agreements will still be offered up until 2024, albeit in a simplified form, with the four simplified Wildlife Offers and Hedgerow and Boundaries Grant offering a possible glimpse of the future. That said, a crucial disadvantage of these is their limited scope and the £10,000 cap on capital items that can be claimed therein.
For these reasons, a full Mid-Tier application can prove more beneficial and with a huge variety of management and capital items to choose from, there is an option-mix to suit almost every farming business.
The return of the Countryside Productivity Small Grant Scheme (CPSGS) Round 2 in the near future is also hotly anticipated but for now remains unconfirmed.
For tailored advice on the various grants available, contact your local Stags Professional on 01392 439046.