Defra has issued guidance on which farmers will be hit by double-funding rules when greening rules are introduced next year.

The government has issued a detailed CAP reform Q&A which sets out how people who have an environmental stewardship agreement will be affected.

The document claims 90% of Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) and all High Level Stewardship (HLS) agreements will not need to have their payments adjusted for greening.

See also: Planning cropping under new ‘greening’ rules

But there are 4000 ELS/OELS agreements that started after 1 January 2012 where farmers could have their payments reduced because they contain certain options where there is a risk of double funding.

There are 19 ELS and 18 OELS options where the payments have been changed to reflect the new rules.

Farmers who signed up before 2012 will be unaffected because the government pledged anyone who had entered into a long-term agreement in advance of clarity about changes to the CAP should not be left worse off.

Main points of the document include:

  • Farmers with agreements preceding January 2012 can use relevant options in their ELS/OELS agreements to count towards their greening obligations without any changes to payments.
  • Farmers who are exempt from the ecological focus area requirement will not have ELS payments reduced.
  • Producers who are not claiming under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) on land that is also in an ELS agreement that started after 1 January 2012 will not be affected.
  • Natural England will write to all agreement holders who may be affected in the early autumn , setting out the choices available.

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