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21st October 2021
One of the main schemes of funding that has been introduced by DEFRA through the new approach to help Farmers and Land Managers through the Agricultural Transition Period (ATP) is “Environmental Land Management schemes”(ELM). They inclusively have a wide range of totally different opportunities allowing access to financial support and other incentives for all Farmers and Land Managers.
From the large change that has taken place, DEFRA are running extensive “Tests and Trials”, on farms undertaken by around 3,000 farmers and land managers. These will help to increase the knowledge and understanding of specific geographies, sectors and farm types that are otherwise lacking from using financial support and incentives to the highest standards currently. As a result of these DEFRA are in hope that they will prove to be the “building blocks” of the future for them to base their roll out of grants and schemes made available.
Countryside Stewardship pays a large role within the Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELM). These operate in a tiered approach, reflecting on the capability and production of the land/farms existing. The capability for in which payments are assessed on is their ability to be environmentally friendly and the benefits to animal welfare they provide. The scale to which these payments are made is totally on reflection of the farmer/land manager and can vary year upon year. For example, one farmer providing significant change to style in which they benefit the animal welfare will receive a large payment acknowledging their time and effort. A great example of this is reduced tillage and cultivation over the winter months were field conditions become more difficult from factors such as the weather and therefore sowing a cover crop. As a result, of this it can reduce surface runoff and erosion of soil helping with the soil health and fertility in the following year to optimise yields and field potential.
One part of the Country Stewardship Scheme involves the Woodland Support Grants (which also include the Tree Health Pilot) as demonstrated in the Table 1 below.
|There are Capital payment schemes available for the following 3 grants ; · Woodland Creation · Maintenance, Woodland Management Plan · Woodland Tree Health grant||Woodland Creation and Maintenance Tree Planting- £1.28/tree. (Assuming a stocking density of 2,500 trees/ha : payment of £3,200/ha). Woodland Management Plan 3-50 hectares of Woodland– Flat rate of £1,000 51-100 hectares—Flat rate of £1,000 for the first 50 hectares, plus £20 per additional hectare up to and inc. 100 hectares. +100 hectares– Flat rate of £2,000, plus £10 per additional hectare over 100 hectare. Woodland Tree Health Tree Planting- £1.28/tree||All open all year round|
Also within the County Stewardship scheme is the Wildlife agreements, again all of these are in a tiered system. The Mid Tier for example provides the opportunity for revenue payments and grants to protect and enhance the natural environment. The Higher Tier acting on behalf of more vast areas such as woodland and forests. See the below Table 2.
|There is a 5 year scheme with annual payments on items such as fencing, hedge laying and yard coverings or A range of 2 year grants for specific capital works. These grants can be applied for: water quality , air quality and boundary feature.||There is a spending cap of £120,000 for air and water quality items and £50,000 for boundaries, trees and orchard items.||Open all year. Contract starts on 1st January 2022|
Lending more towards the livestock farmers is the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway Funding. This scheme yet to be specifically clarified, has been given an outline of having funding readily available to allow for farmers to produce healthier animals to the highest wellbeing standards. This is confirmed to be opened form Spring 2022 onwards.
Another scheme that lends more to livestock farmers in the Slurry Investment Scheme. A scheme that investigates the possible investments into which farmers can make in order to reduce pollution from products such as slurry. It is due to come into action in early 2022.
By now within the Agricultural sector it has come very apparent the change in which needs to happen to adapt to the “new world” to protect the planet and become more sustainable. DEFRA have provided an incentive to help aid farmers within there development to become more sustainably viable to the environment, through the Sustainable Farming Incentive as presented in Table 3 below.
|Help provide funds for environmentally sustainable land management actions which farmers can do. For example, soil and livestock management , integrated pest management including fertiliser usage.||On top each pilot participant will receive £5,000 in the first year. Arable & Horticultural: Land £28/ha Introduction, Intermediate £54/ha and £74/ha at Advanced. Arable & Horticultural: Soils £26/ha Introduction, Intermediate £41/ha and £60/ha Advanced. Farm Woodland £49/ha. Payments are also included for Hedgerows and Improved grassland.||Beginning of 2022|
Many of these schemes and incentives that have been put into place from DEFRA have been as a result of the “Test and Trials” taking place. Looking at the current push and pull in demand is a key thing which demonstrate some of these grants exceptionally. As shown with the Farming in Protective Landscapes Scheme. From the increased demand of the UK public in the housing industry, resulting in many farms having compulsory purchase, the demand for food production is still high. By therefore offering this grant it has given a means to the “Hilltop” farmers for example to provide a farm business model contributing to the UK agricultural industry as well as being more sustainably viable. (Table 4)
|Funding to support nature recovery, mitigate the impacts of climate change, provide opportunity for people to engage in the landscape and cultural heritage and support nature friendly, sustainable farm businesses.||The maximum application is £75,000 with a minimum grant of £2,000.||Open from 2021– End of 2024|
Following from this, a key part in reducing the rate of Global Warming is the use of trees through photosynthesis. Not only do trees have a benefit in this way but can also result in a habitat to increase biodiversity of a specific area as well as contributing to many other environmental benefits. DEFRA have presented the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) which is not only accessible to farmers and other land owners but all owners occupiers, tenants, landlords and licensors who have full management and control on they land. (Table 5)
|Funds the creation of new woodland, including areas as small as 1 hectare.||4 types of payment available: · Support for capital items and activities to establish new woodland with 100% of costs. · 10 years of annual maintenance payments to help establish the young trees once the capital works are complete. · Contribution towards the cost of installing infrastructure to either enable the current and future management of the woodland or to provide recreational use. · Additional contributions where the location if the woodland and its design will deliver pubic benefits.||June 2021– Onwards|
DEFRA have produced these grants and incentives to help the Agricultural industry specifically and being able to use them appropriately and to the best of their ability is crucial to wanting to keep demand them. They can become of great benefit to Farmers, Land managers and other stakeholders involved with the management and control of the land especially as farming itself is such an unpredictable industry, let alone having other added difficulties.
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