The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has released information on several key changes to the terms and conditions for either Countryside Stewardship (CS) or Environmental Stewardship (ES) schemes that started before 1 January 2021.
From 1 January 2023, you will now be able to extend an ES agreement for up to 5 years beyond its current end date. From January you will also be able to leave your current CS or ES agreement early and join another environmental scheme offered by the RPA. The RPA has also announced that they will remove land-based penalties on top of reductions for future scheme years.
Importantly, the amount you are paid and when your payment falls will not change. These changes will also not affect the options within your agreement or the individual scheme requirements you must follow. The RPA will contact all agreement holders later in the year with more information.
Elliot Taylor, Partner and Farm Business Consultant said. “We expected the RPA to announce these changes as CS and ES agreements will now be domestically funded from January 2023. It’s important that agreement holders carefully way up all the pros and cons of extending their current scheme, as well as fully investigating if a new agreement may offer added benefits to their farm. As agriculture moves away from direct subsidies it's vital that farmers consider all options available including the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) schemes.”
For more information about agri-environment agreements please contact the George F. White Rural team on 0333 920 2220.