It was confirmed at the Oxford Farming Conference in December, that for Countryside Stewardship Agreements from 1 January 2023, all revenue items will see on average a 10% increase and capital items around a 48% increase to rates, with a small proportion staying the same or decreasing. This change will benefit over 30,000 agreements across England and will make applications a more attractive prospect going forward. Capital item payment rate increases will only apply to new agreements but revenue prices will apply to all new and existing Mid-Tier and Higher Tier agreements.
It was also announced at the conference that a new Management Payment of £20 per hectare would be introduced to the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI), for up to 50 hectares of land entered into the scheme. This payment is envisaged to support administrative costs and hopes to increase participation in the scheme, which should support smaller farms in particular.
By way of general update on important dates: the Countryside Stewardship application window for agreements starting January 2024 is likely to open around February. Capital Grants can now be applied for at any time of year. The Slurry Infrastructure Grant is currently open, the application window closes on 31 January 2023. The Water Management Grant will be expected to follow later this year.
For any further information on current schemes and grants available, please contact your local office.