An Oswestry business is encouraging farmers to apply for the new Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier Scheme, run by Natural England, sooner rather than later.

The call is being made by rural estate agents Roger Parry & Partners, in Salop Road.

Clare Williams, a chartered surveyor with Roger Parry & Partners, works advising farmers around the Basic Payment Scheme, wants farmers to overcome initial issues and join the scheme.

“The Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier Scheme replaces the popular Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) scheme,” she said. “We are aware that some farmers have been reluctant to enter this new agreement once their ELS has expired.

“We are urging farmers to have another look at the scheme now that new elements have been introduced by Natural England to actually encourage farmers to take another look and continue the environmental benefits created by the previous ELS.”

With the Mid Tier Scheme farmers can choose which options best suit their farm operation from a long list. Farmers then get paid based on which options they chose and how much of each option they apply to their land e.g. Flower-rich margins £539/hectare, Management of hedgerows £8/100 metres.

Farmers can also choose from a list of Capital Works to accompany their claim, such as new hedge planting £11.60/m, livestock troughs £110 each, or concrete yard renewal £27.11/m”, or fencing £4/m. Each agreement starts on 1 January after submission and the deadline for submission of applications is July 31, 2018.

Clare added: “Farmers need to think about entering this scheme sooner rather than later. Application packs must be requested before 31 May so while filling your Basic Payment Scheme claim form it’s worth having a think about what you could change on your land to bring in some extra money by way of agri-environment schemes.

Farmers with an ELS or HLS agreement coming to an end during 2018 should also consider Mid Tier as a way of carrying on their scheme. Depending on your ELS options you may end up receiving more money for carrying out the same obligations that you’re doing under your ELS/HLS.

“Roger Parry & Partners have had great success in submitting Mid Tier applications for clients, with applications in 2017 alone amounting to over £190,000 of income for farmers and over £90,000 worth of capital items. ”