THE FIRST agreements under the Entry Level Stewardship scheme have started, although just 5181 producers have managed to get one.
But one of these farmers is the architect of the scheme – Donald Curry – who hosted an open day on his farm in Hexham, Northumberland on Monday (Aug 1) to publicise the ELS.
Sir Donald said like lots of other people he had endured his “fair share of hassles” getting maps printed, but he was delighted to be starting his agreement on Aug 1.
“Today is a significant environmental milestone for farmers in England as the first ELS agreements begin,” he said.
“Entry Level Stewardship is a cornerstone of the government’s Sustainable Farming and Food Strategy.
“It provides an opportunity for all farmers to be rewarded for the successful conservation and enhancement of the English countryside; a fundamental part of the Policy Commission vision for the re-orientation of farming.”
DEFRA has confirmed that it has issued 5781 conditional agreements with an Aug 1 start date, from a total of 5747 completed applications.
It added that by Jul 26, 43,378 ELS application packs had been requested and of these 34,272 had been sent out.