Clarification from Rural Payments Agency RE: Mid-Tier Stewardship scheme
It is generally accepted that the initial take up of Mid-Tier Stewardship was disappointing, with the majority of the businesses which came out of the Entry Level Scheme deciding against participating in the replacement arrangement.
Subsequently we have seen the outcome of the Brexit vote and much speculation over what a new UK defined scheme of agricultural support might look like. One of the first indicators came in the latter part of 2017 when Michael Gove announced that the Mid-Tier Stewardship Scheme would be relaunched. Further details were issued in January 2018, and under the revamped scheme applicants can still apply under the existing scheme, or can instead use a streamlined version, which gives simplified schemes for arable, lowland grazing, upland and mixed farms. Under each scheme an applicant can select from a small range of the full MTS environmental options, subject to a minimum of 3 different environmental areas – for example, an arable claim might include nectar flower mix, winter bird food and buffer strips. There is no maximum number of options, but there is a minimum area of 3% of the farmed land.
There was some ambiguity in the original announcements which implied that the new scheme would not be available where an existing scheme was registered under the same Single Business Identifier (SBI). The Rural Payments Agency have clarified that this means only one scheme can be claimed on each land parcel, but parcels which are not in an existing scheme can be put into a new scheme. However, in this latter case the online application system may not work, so a paper application will be necessary.