Mid-Tier Stewardship applications - what next?
Sally Blowey of Stags Professional Services discusses the process for putting together your Mid-Tier stewardship application
You have your application pack, you have been to the meeting in your local village hall, but what next?
The submission deadline for a Mid-Tier agreement with a 2020 start date is fast approaching on 31 July. Unlike previous stewardship schemes the Mid-Tier is competitive and therefore applications have to be submitted in one application window so that they can be scored against each other with those earning higher points being offered an agreement.
You no longer have to enter your whole holding into an agreement and the payment is set on a £/hectare rather than points target, therefore you can sign up to as many or as few options as you like.
It is useful to remember that the Mid-Tier scheme offers a large selection of capital items, which must be completed within the first two years of an agreement; these include livestock fencing and water troughs and there is no limit on the amount for which you can apply.
The best place to start is by viewing the options that are available on the gov.uk website; this sets out the payment rate, eligibility and requirements of each option. Be sure to check the evidence that is required with each option - you may need to complete a wildlife survey for example if you are considering entering farm buildings into the maintenance option, or soil surveys for the low input grassland options.
If you have ordered an application pack you will have been emailed the submission documents, these can be completed on the computer or by hand. Two copies of the agreement maps will need to be printed and filled out, the first to show the options chosen and the other to identify the features on your holding as the Farm Environment Record.
Consider how the options will suit your current farming system and whether you will be able to comply with the requirements over the course of the next five years. There is a higher level of record keeping required in this scheme and Natural England has a raft of templates available to help you keep these.
If you haven’t ordered an application pack then you will not be able to apply for a 2020 start date but it would still be worth looking at the scheme manual and options and considering whether it is something you want to look into for 2021.
As ever, if you would like to find out more about Countryside Stewardship or other grants that may be available contact Stags Professional Services on 01392 439046 to reach your local professiona