With the Mid-Tier Stewardship application deadline only 2 months away it is time to begin thinking about annual options and capital items. Due to the different rules and regulations that come with holding a stewardship agreement, it is hugely important to plan ahead and ensure that all the options selected can be easily managed thus not creating further work for yourselves. By choosing the best suited options to your farming style and land available this will make management of the agreement hassle free and easy. The short application window often finds applicants rushing to decisions that do not suit the farming practices or land available, this only usually becomes obvious when it is too late to change an application leaving you with an agreement that will be difficult to manage. It is therefore important to spend as much time planning the agreement as possible in order to ensure it has been properly thought through.
As you are unable to change the option locations once the agreement is in place, it is important to ensure all those who have an interest in the farm are in agreement and therefore everyone is fully informed avoiding errors and therefore fines for not managing the options correctly.
All capital works must be completed within the first 2 years of the agreement and therefore it is important to ensure that you do have the time and resources available in order to carry out the planned work before making a claim to Natural England. With the average time taken to pay out on capital claims being 2-3 months, it is important to make sure that funds are in place to ensure that your business does not become under financial pressure, it would therefore be advisable to keep your bank manager informed with a plan in place if payments are delayed.
For help choosing the best options for you and your farm, please contact Chloe at firstname.lastname@example.org or your local FCG office.