December notice board

The HNR office will be closed from noon on Thursday 22nd December until Wednesday 4th December.

We wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Basic Payment Scheme

Balance payments are being issued for BPS 2022 – remittance advice and claim statements will be coming in the post. Check that the payments received match the totals and the areas match the claim.

Stewardship Schemes

Countryside stewardship and environmental stewardship payments – remittance advices will arrive by post. Check the value against your agreements. For CS agreements, payments should reflect any uplifts following the rate changes last year.

Changes to Environmental and Countryside Stewardship

As of 1 January 2023, all Stewardship agreements including Environmental Stewardship Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) and Organic Higher Level Stewardship (OHLS), Countryside Stewardship (CS) Higher Tier, Mid Tier and Wildlife offers will be under domestic terms and conditions (T&Cs).

All new agreements that started on or after 1 January 2021 are already under domestic T&Cs.

From 1 January 2023, existing agreements signed under European Union (EU) T&Cs will be moved to align with agreements taken up after January 2021. Significantly this means for the first time, everyone will benefit from the same supportive, partnership-based approach as we move away from the penalty-based inspection system under the EU.

Recognising the positive outcomes being delivered under the scheme, eligible HLS agreement holders with agreements expiring in 2023 will be able to extend and remain in the scheme for up to a further 5 years. RPA also intend to offer 5 year extensions for agreements due to end in 2024. For those who are already delivering valuable outcomes and wish to continue as they are, this offers some stability and certainty.

For those who wish to explore other options, where there are no conflicts, HLS agreement holders will also be able to apply for a range of CS Capital grants, a CS agreement or a Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) agreement, while keeping their existing HLS agreement.

Alternatively, HLS agreement holders who wish to leave HLS early will be able to do so without any penalty, if they successfully apply for a CS agreement starting January 2024 or another new land management scheme starting after January 2023. The new agreement would need to offer equivalent or greater environmental benefits than the HLS agreement, but this gives some additional flexibility.

Similarly, existing eligible CS agreement holders will be able to leave their agreement early without penalty to join a new land management scheme, providing the environmental benefits are equivalent or greater. They will also be able to apply for Capital grants or another CS agreement to start from 1 January 2024 or apply for the SFI – providing there are no conflicts in CS and SFI options.

Cross Compliance

New cross compliance details for 2023 have been published – check your obligations here

The cross-compliance rules that you must meet have not changed, but there are some changes to how cross compliance runs. It is no longer the case that RPA apply penalties differently between all other rural payments claimants and those:

  • Who claim for the basic payment scheme (bps) only
  • Whose countryside stewardship (CS) agreements start on or after 1 January 2021 only
  • Whose CS agreements start on or after 1 January 2021 only and who claim for bps

Cross compliance will end after the 2023 scheme year and will not apply to your delinked payments.

Some current scheme opportunities

  • Slurry Infrastructure Grant
  • Farming in Protected Landscapes programme provides funding to all farmers and land managers within an AONB or National Park in England
  • CS standalone capital grant – walling hedges water & air quality items
  • Sustainable Farming Incentive
  • England Woodland Creation Offer
  • FETF – Farm Equipment and Technology Fund – next round expected Spring 2023
  • Rural Prosperity Fund – Small business grants (diversification, tourism) expected 2023 or even later

Give HNR a call to discuss any of the above or if you have any queries regarding your farm, it’s future and accessing support 01434 603 028 07753693111