Take stewardship cash, urges RSPB

21 December 1999

Take stewardship cash, urges RSPB

By FWi staff

A LEADING wildlife charity is urging arable farmers to take advantage of £500,000 funding available under an environmentally-friendly land management scheme.

The money is on offer to producers in East Anglia and the west Midlands through the Ministry of Agricultures Arable Stewardship scheme.

But the RSPB warns that farmers in these pilot areas must apply between January until the end of March next year to be considered.

A total of 4500 hectares (11,115 acres) are already under the scheme designed to benefit species such as the brown hare, cornflower, grey partridge and skylark.

Annual payments range from £55 to £540 per acre for a range of wildlife-friendly cereal options.

These include winter stubbles, spring-grown crops and crops under-sown with grass.

There are also options for growing unharvested crops to provide food for a variety of birds and insects.

Jonathan Curtoys, RSPB agriculture spokesman, said: “Schemes such as Arable Stewardship could be the blueprint for arable farming in the future.

“We want the pilot scheme to succeed, to allow wildlife-friendly options to be made available to farmers throughout England.”

The Arable Stewardship pilot scheme was launched last year.

Earlier this month the government announced that it was reducing farming subsidy money to boost funding to agri-environment schemes by £1 billion.

The money is part of a total £1.6bn in environmental expenditure expected over seven years from the radical reform of the UK farm subsidy system.

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