Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS)
At the Oxford Farming Conference, Mark Spencer announced that the majority of revenue payment rates under CSS will be increased by 10% for all new and existing agreements.
Payment rates for the majority of capital items will increase by 48% on average and applicants will have 3 years to complete and submit capital works to the Rural Payment Agency (RPA).
The new capital item payment rates will apply to all Countryside Stewardship (CS) agreements starting on or after 1 January 2023. Where rates have decreased, this will not apply to existing CS agreements.
You can now enter field parcels already in an existing CS agreement into a CS Standalone Capital Grants agreement, subject to meeting the necessary criteria and eligibility. All capital items under your existing agreement must be completed and paid for before you can apply for a CS Standalone Capital Grant.
All capital and annual maintenance payments for the English Woodland Creation Offer and the Tree Health Pilot will also see an increase in payment rates.
Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI)
The SFI Management Payment will be introduced this year to all existing and new agreements providing farmers with an annual payment of £20 per hectare, for up to 50 hectares of land entered under the scheme. Feedback from farmers has shown that the current payment rates under SFI do not support farmer’s administrative fees in entering and implementing the scheme on their land. Farmers could now receive up to £1,000 per year in addition to their agreement in order to cover these administrative costs.
Currently only 3 standards are available to farmers under SFI, but more will be introduced this year and will be available to all existing and new agreements. Under SFI, the Annual Health and Welfare Review will be launching in the Spring which will provide funding for vet visits to your farm.
For more information on the latest updates to CSS and SFI, please click HERE.