The application window for Countryside Stewardship 2023 ends on the 18th August 2023. Whilst we are still busy making Mid-Tier Countryside Stewardship applications for our clients, recent scheme changes have meant more of our clients are now opting to wait for the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) instead.

Whilst Mid-Tier Countryside Stewardship still has a place for many, the SFI offering and its enhanced flexibility is appealing to the majority of our clients, along with the ability to make standalone capital grants for improvements works.

Those that are still applying for Mid-Tier CS this year are a combination of:

  • Those looking to take advantage of the ability to install or replace fencing along boundary features (such as hedgerows) and not just along ditches/watercourses (available under standalone Capital Grants).
  • Those with more specific environmental aims i.e. skylark plots and beetle banks.
  • Those simply looking to roll over existing agreements without a change in the rule or requirements of a new scheme.

Why are many farmers opting to wait for the SFI?

  • A larger range of options and ones which fit better with existing farming practices.
  • Ability to get payments for actions they are already delivering (i.e. Integrated Pest Management Plans, Nutrient Management Plans, Soil Management Plans, etc.)
  • The ability to get better payments for hedgerow management.
  • Three year schemes with more flexibility for annual changes.
  • The SFI Management Payment (up to £1,000 per year).
  • No need for tenants to get Landlords to countersign.
  • Access to unlimited Capital Grants under the separate Capital Grant scheme.
  • No late cutting date for grassland options.

Unsure what to do? Contact one of our grants team to arrange a farm specific review to determine what options are available to you and what the return is.