LOTS OF INFORMATION FOR FARMERS TO CONSIDER
This week, Defra opened the Countryside Stewardship scheme for applications and published more details about their exit scheme and the de-linking of Basic Payments from land.
For Countryside Stewardship, some of the changes include an improved capital grant offer with no fixed deadline for the stand-alone grant scheme and with new wood pasture options and expanded eligibility for managing rough grazing for birds in the uplands. The Stewardship revenue payments have recently been reviewed with an average increase of 30% including a significant increase in the upland grassland payment from £16/ha to £71/ha.
Defra has also published more information about the Lump Sum Exit Scheme and the delinking of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) from land from 2024. Farmers that want to leave the industry will be able to apply for a lump sum calculated using their average BPS payments from 2019-21 capped at £42,500 & multiplied by 2.35. The payment will be treated as “capital” for tax purposes. Applications will open in April closing in September 2022 and farmers can now request a forecast of their potential lump sum payment.
The Basic Payment Scheme will be replaced by de-linked payments after the 2023 scheme year. From 2024, farmers will not need any land or entitlements to receive the payments which will be based on a reference period based on the average BPS for 2020 - 2022. This has implications for all farmers.