Enthusiasm for ELS at Cereals 2005

THE ENTRY Level Scheme has proved a very popular area of interest at this year’s Cereals Event, according to show exhibitors.

While there have been some problems with ELS maps, many growers are now keen to get a greater understanding of the options available, said Velcourt’s James Sheldrick, coordinator of the firm’s environmental zones area at the show.

“There is still some confusion over the exact details, but it [the ELS scheme] is not as onerous as many feared when details were first announced.”

The ELS offers growers a host of different options and much more freedom than the old Countryside Stewardship Scheme, added DEFRA’s Rural Development Advisor, Sarah Brockless.

“We’ve had a very positive reaction from farmers – many were apprehensive at first, but most are now keen to get involved with the ELS.”

Anyone considering joining the ELS needs to plan scheme options carefully and ensure projects are kept simple, manageable and have a clear aim, she advised.

This was echoed by Frontier’s Richard Whitlock, who said there was genuine curiosity in ways of getting ELS points.

DEFRA estimates suggest that 70-80% of farmers will take up the ELS, many of which will be using it to take less productive land out of production, he said.

“The most common question we’re faced with is ‘so what do I need to do?’ – farmers now need specific, prescriptive advice on what to do.”

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