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RECORD NUMBERS OF APPLICATIONS FOR MID-TIER COUNTRYSIDE STEWARDSHIP SHOWS PROMISE FOR FARM BUSINESSES MOVING AWAY FROM RELIANCE ON BPS PAYMENTS

The deadline for 2020 mid-tier countryside stewardship applications closed on the 31st July with Brown&Co delivering record numbers of applications. Over 180 clients farming 86,000 acres and encompassing 18,500 acres of scheme features. 

Looking towards longer term environmental benefits, the mid-tier scheme provides a range of capital items and options to protect and enhance the natural environment, in particular the diversity of wildlife and water quality. 

With the exception of the wildlife offers, the scheme is designed to be competitive with funding being awarded for either field management options, for which payments are made annually for 5 years, or for capital items; a range of 2 year grants for specific infrastructure works and also one off water capital grants. Brown&Co are seeking to secure over £20,000,000 for their clients, over the life of the agreement. 

James Brown, Partner of Brown&Co explains, “As we move into the agricultural transition period and see the gradual loss of BPS, these schemes will play a key part in providing income for valuable environmental benefits. It is vital that farm businesses embrace this change, diversify and plan their strategy to move away from the reliance many have had on BPS. This adjustment has started to be seen this year in CSS applications as on average clients have CSS options on 17% of their land.”

Charles Whitaker, Managing Partner of Brown&Co commented “Brown&Co Agricultural Business Consultancy teams are seeking to encourage farming clients to see the Mid –Tier scheme as a means to make meaningful change to their businesses, focussing on net margin contribution from various land uses within the rotation. Based on this CSS applications this year, clients are receiving an average of £430/ha for the land put into stewardship. Using Mid-Tier rotational and fixed options to eliminate some loss-making break crops / land uses, enables change to fixed cost structures and improves overall, sustainable, bottom line profitability – while improving the environment”. 

With a strong team of Agri-professionals who are experienced in delivering farm business advice on the environmental and financial benefits of Countryside Stewardship, Brown&Co firmly believe it is important to plan early in order to deliver the right scheme for individual farms and businesses – and that the scheme can be used to drive change and maintain profitability. 

Please contact your local Brown&Co office for more information at brown-co.com/branches