Farming Focus InBrief – March 2022

  • If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  If you do not have their details please contact the office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]
  • The application window for the BPS in England will open on the 15th March and runs until the 16th May.  In the meantime, it is already possible to transfer land and entitlements online in England in readiness for this year’s BPS applications.  Claimants have until 16th May (the 15th is a Sunday) to complete the transactions.
  • For those who are taking place in the SFI Pilot, the payment rates have been revised.  Some of the payments have remained the same whilst others have increased.  Some Pilot agreements will have already started, others are still being agreed but the new payments will apply from the start of all agreements. The first batch of quarterly payments under the SFI Pilot have now been made to those participants whose agreements commenced on November 1st.    Not all applications had been processed by this initial start date but offers have been sent out on a regular basis since. 
  • The application window for the first round of Landscape Recovery pilot projects is now open and will close on 24th May 2022.  Landscape Recovery is the third component of ELM.  It is for farmers and land managers, including groups, who want to take a more radical and large-scale (500-5,000 Ha) approach to producing environment and climate goods on their land, such as establishing new nature reserves, restoring floodplains to help reduce the risks from flooding, or creating woodland and wetlands.  The first round will focus on species recovery and river restoration.
  • Defra has started to send out Agreements for the first round of the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF).  Agreements need to be accepted by midnight on 1st April (extended from 4th March), via the dedicated FETF acceptance portal.  Claimants then have until midnight on 31st October 2022 (also extended by one month) to buy and install the items and submit a claim for payment.
  • Defra has announced the new Slurry Investment Scheme will now be incorporated into the Farming Investment Fund and will not be a separate scheme. Further details should be available through the spring, but it is expected grants to help farmers achieve 6 months slurry storage will be available in the autumn.
  • The Bank of England increased UK base rates on Thursday 3rd February from 0.25% to 0.50%.  This is in response to rising inflation.  Further increases are expected.
  • A reminder that Countryside Stewardship is now open for applications (see ). This includes the Higher-tier, Mid-Tier, Wildlife Offers and the stand-alone Capital Grant Scheme.  Many are having another look at CS, in part to try and retrieve some ‘lost’ BPS, but also because the domestic scheme has seen some improvements and flexibility.  Successful applications will commence 1st January 2023 and can be ended early where an ELM agreement has been approved.  Payments have been timelier and the penalty/inspection process less penal.  Most will have some areas on their holding that are less productive and could probably be entered into CS.  Do not hesitate to contact one of our consultants if you are considering CS, they can help you prepare and submit a cost-effective CS application but only if initial discussions conclude it is financially viable.
  • Our Special Edition in February also included details on the Lump Sum ‘retirement’ scheme which will be in operation this year only (see Do not hesitate to contact one of our consultants if this is something that maybe of interest to your business and they can work through the details with you.
  • Trade patterns for farm goods on the island of Ireland have changed significantly as a result of Brexit. Latest data from the Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that total agri-food trade between Northern Ireland (NI) and the Republic of Ireland (ROI) has increased significantly (by 42%) in 2021 versus 2020.  NI agri-food imports from ROI have increased by 47% with regulatory controls imposed on GB to NI trade as a result of the NI Protocol being the primary driver. Corresponding NI exports to ROI have also risen by 38% over the same period, showing that increased all-island agri-food trade is happening in both directions.

This month’s Spotlight looks at the impact Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is having on the arable market Click Here for further information.

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