Farmers must get ready to apply for water capital grants

Farmers considering applying for water capital items under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme should book an appointment with their local catchment sensitive farming officer if they want to apply for the full range of options on offer.

Claire Robinson, countryside adviser for the NFU, said she would advise farmers looking at the scheme to pick up the phone to book an appointment with a CSFO as soon as they could.

This will allow time to organise a visit and respond to any recommendations before the CSS application deadline of 30 September.

See also: How arable incomes could benefit from mid-tier environment scheme

The water capital item element of the mid-tier CSS is the replacement for the former Capital Grant Scheme, which was available through Catchment Sensitive Farming.

Water capital items are available through mid-tier either as a two-year capital agreement or within a five-year mid-tier or high-tier agreement, which has land management options too.

Water capital caps

Ms Robinson said the maximum available for water capital items through a two-year capital only agreement was £10,000, but it was her understanding there is no maximum for a five-year mid-tier agreement containing additional land management options.

Under the competitive scheme, farmers may be able to get funding for measures which include the renewal of concrete in a yard, roofing over slurry pits or cattle gathering areas and installing sprayer loading and wash-down areas.

However, these options require the support and approval of a CSFO for an application to be considered and CSFOs only work in High Water Quality Priority Areas.

These priority areas can be viewed using the online mapping tool Magic as an option under the “Countryside stewardship targeting & scoring layers” heading.