Four new Countryside Stewardship agreements have been introduced for the New Year. These new agreements will be non-competitive:

  • Online arable
  • Lowland grazing
  • Upland
  • Mixed farming

Online arable

The online arable agreement will have eleven arable options to choose from, and applicants must pick at least one option from three different categories, and a minimum of 3% of the farmed land under the applicant’s management must be placed within the scheme. There is no maximum number of options that can be used, and the agreements last for five years. See here for Online Arable categories/options

Lowland grazing

The lowland grazing agreement has seven options to choose from which are divided into three categories. Applicants must pick one option from category 1, and one from category 2.  Further options can be selected, and the agreements last for five years. See here for Lowland Grazing categories/options

Upland

The upland agreement gives applicants four base options to choose from, plus additional supplemental options as well.  The minimum number of options applicants must take up is one base option and two supplemental options, or two base options and one supplemental option. See here for Upland categories/options

Mixed farming

The mixed farming agreement has three categories with fourteen options to choose from and applicants must pick at least one option from categories 1, 2 and 3. The minimum number of options that can be selected is three, and there is no maximum. See here for Mixed Farming categories/options

These appear to be similar to the old ELS arrangements with Mid Tier options. Maybe Mr Gove recognises he needs such non-competitive schemes in order to attract the uptake by farmers to fulfil his ‘green vision’!

More information is due to be released on all four of these new CSS offers in 2018 to coincide with the application window. See more details here.