Farmers should join forces for stewardship cash, says Defra

Farmers who team up with their neighbours will improve their chances of securing funding from Defra’s Countryside Stewardship Scheme.

Farm minister George Eustice has unveiled a £7.2m package to support joint working among farmers to deliver countryside stewardship over wider areas.

See also: Defra reveals funding details for Countryside Stewardship

The money will support coordinators to work with farms in the same geographical area to ensure money spent on stewardship grants makes the biggest impact possible.

Encouraging farmers, foresters and land managers to work together, these coordinators will promote a landscape-scale approach to addressing local priorities.

The scheme will be targeted to make sure that agreements deliver specific environmental benefits, such as the creation of wildlife corridors.

Mr Eustice said adopting conservation measures across the wider countryside was vital to maximise the impact of the new stewardship scheme.

He said: “This will support some of our fundamental aims such as reversing the decline in farmland birds and supporting wild pollinators.”

The government intends to spend £900m on countryside stewardship over the next few years as part of its Rural Development Programme for England.

Defra expects the scheme to be fully rolled out in July.