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Catchment Sensitive Farming approval reminder for CSS

2 mins

Farmers looking to apply for any of the capital grants under the Mid-Tier Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) which require approval from a Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer (CSFO), should make contact with the CSFO in the next few weeks, if they have not already done so.

Valuable capital grants are on offer which will allow farms and estates in England to invest in works designed to improve water and air quality, by reducing the amount of diffuse pollution and ammonia being released.

The grants will pay for items such as livestock and machinery hardcore tracks, concrete yard renewal, self-supporting slurry covers, lined bio-beds and the roofing of silage camps, collecting yards, muck heaps, slurry and silage stores.

While the deadline for a Mid-Tier application is not until mid-August, farmers considering applying for any of the options which need CSFO support must make contact with their local team by early June.

The guidance states that you must fill out a CSF support request form and send it to your local CSF mailbox at least 10 weeks before you intend to submit your application to the Rural Payments Agency.

Given the closing date for Mid-Tier applications is 18 August 2023 this means farmers should get their CSF support request forms in by 9 June, or the guidance says the request will not be considered.

Applicants will need to demonstrate to the CSFO how the proposed investment will prevent air or water pollution. Funding will be focused on those farms where the largest improvements in water and air quality and reduction in flood risk are likely to be achieved.

Farmers can choose to apply for the grants either under the standalone three-year Capital Grants scheme, or as part of a wider five-year Mid-Tier CSS agreement which includes other land management options.

CSFO approval is also required for any standalone Capital Grants applications. However, because these can be made at any point during the year applicants are not facing the same hard deadline as anyone submitting a Mid-Tier application.

Farmers who are not sure about whether they should apply for CSS or wait for the new Sustainable Farming Incentives (SFI) to be rolled out this summer, can at least keep their options open by putting in the CSF request form.

At this stage we know that new SFI standards will be rolled out this summer, but we don’t know exactly when. Hopefully, it will be well ahead of the 18 August deadline for Mid-Tier applications, so farmers can make a considered choice between CSS or SFI.

Alice Johnson
Farm Business Consultant
+44 (0) 1609 788454
Send a message to Alice Johnson
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