Extra month for Countryside Stewardship payment application

Farmers in England who applied for Countryside Stewardship (CS) membership last year have an extra month to submit their payment application forms, Defra has announced.

The move shifts the deadline from 15 May to 15 June, and allows extra time for Natural England to send out agreement offers to farmers awaiting confirmation their scheme has been approved.

Application for payment cannot be submitted until the agreement has been approved and, with a number of agreements due to begin on 1 January 2018 having not yet been approved, this means farmers have longer to claim for work they have undertaken.

See also: Simplified Countryside Stewardship opens for business

The extra month also means customers who need to make any changes to the maps on their agreement offer or raise other queries have time to do so.

The extension window only applies to CS and does not affect environmental stewardship claims or Basic Payment Scheme applications.

These both still have a deadline of 15 May to avoid late claim penalties.

Farmers looking to apply to be a CS member from the beginning of next year have until 31 May to request an application form and until 31 July to submit applications.