More detail needed on ELMS and SFI schemes for 2023
Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference on Thursday (5 January), Farming Minister Mark Spencer MP said Defra had concluded that the Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme should be retained within the Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMs), rather than be replaced.
The Minister reiterated the Secretary of State's message to CLA Conference in December 2022 that the review of the new UK agricultural policy, initiated by the Truss administration, is now complete.
However, he provided little additional detail around proposals for ELMs and SFI in England than had previously been given.
As part of this move, CS would continue to be simplified and streamlined to make it more accessible and that CS payments would increase by about 10%.
He also confirmed that additional incentive to participate in ELMs would be made available to farmers as Defra will now pay £20/ha for the first 50ha entered into an SFI agreement.
It was also confirmed that there will be six new standards launched in 2023, however we will have to wait until later this month for further details of these and the associated payment rates.
A number of Defra priorities were also highlighted in the speech including getting the gene editing bill on to the statute book; addressing labour constraints; making the livestock traceability scheme simpler; encouraging new entrants into the sector; improving farm business resilience; and providing grant funding for technology and innovation, much detail of which has been made available previously.
The full transcript of the Minister’s speech can be found on the GOV.UK website.