FOCUS ON POLLUTION AND EROSION IF YOU WANT TO JOIN ELS

ARABLE PRODUCERS thinking about joining the government’s new entry level environmental stewardship scheme have been advised to focus on options related to reducing water pollution and soil erosion.

Choosing those options will help producers meet cross-compliance measures for the single farm payment at the same time, says FWAG adviser Karen Stanley.

“Water pollution and soil erosion are two of the main issues currently being addressed by the government and the EU,” says Mrs Stanley.

“Choosing options that will minimise their effect will help producers prove they are tackling these two problems, as well as helping them meet NVZ and LERAP rules. They should also help to prepare the farm for compliance with the EU’s Water Framework Directive, which aims to have all inland and coastal waters in good status” by 2015.”

 Producers who have been put off applying for Countryside Stewardship Scheme agreements in the past may find the new ELS scheme offers more flexibility, although the payments are lower, she admits.

“ELS options can be chosen to suit farmers” own needs. Field corner management should be much easier, allowing awkward-shaped fields to be squared up”.

“Unlike Stewardship, there is no specification for a maximum margin width.”