How is COVID-19 affecting agri-environment schemes?

Field margin Saya Harvey farm East Midlands_59796

COVID-19 is affecting the RPA’s ordinary functioning and processing; similar to all other organisations that have been affected.

This comes at a critical time in the year for both current CS/ES agreement holders and those hoping to apply to start a new CS agreement in 2021.

NFU members: Download a briefing from the NFU's agri-environment team with all the information and deadlines you need to be aware of.

This briefing is accessible to NFU members only and you will be asked to log in.

How to log in: Use your membership number or the email address associated with your membership to log in. If you've forgotten your password, you can click here to reset it or contact NFU CallFirst on 0370 845 8458.

22 April update from Natural England on Countryside Stewardship applications

Following NFU meetings with the chief executives of Natural England and the RPA, NE has announced that it is adapting the way it gives advice to support farmers, land managers and rural businesses during these unprecedented times. NE advisers are able to give advice without always needing to visit, in particular where they have worked with the farmer before. 

NE have also told the NFU they are working with the RPA on making payments and helping customers submit their claims and applications.  

Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship

To enable land managers to develop Higher Tier applications in time for the 1 May application deadline, NE staff are able to provide advice remotely (by phone or video call) on applications, so that schemes can be progressed in the absence of a site visit. NE are also developing a range of processes looking at how to best use technology including remote sensing, digital solutions and virtual meetings to support Countryside Stewardship 2020 applications. 

Mid-Tier Countryside Stewardship

NE will be supporting applicants through an off-farm advice programme. Applicants can contact an adviser and book a clinic session. Applicants will receive advice on the options most appropriate to their holding and top tips on ensuring applications are correct. 

Catchment Sensitive Farming

NE will also continue to offer technical advice and support on Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) by remote/digital means, including where farmers need to make Countryside Stewardship Mid-Tier applications. Contact the CSF team as usual on 020 8026 2018. 

Click here for more information at the Gov.uk website.

More from NFUonline:

Click here to use the NFU's COVID-19 business impact service.

By using this form, farmers and growers can provide information on any business-critical issues they have encountered, or expect to encounter, arising from the COVID-19 outbreak. The NFU will log this information and use it in an anonymised format to flag the key issues agriculture and horticulture are facing to government on a daily basis. However, no personal data will be shared with the government. The service is for all farmers and growers across the UK.


Coronavirus: Updates and advice

 This news hub on NFUonline will be updated regularly to keep you up to date with what you need to know and how to deal with the various issues raised by coronavirus. Visit the hub.

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NFU members: Have your say

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  • Posted by: John Joseph RainePosted on: 24/04/2020 19:15:39

    Comment: I have a CS higher tier agreement with associated capital works, which will not be completed this summer due to the lockdown. I phoned the helpline number and was advised to email. I have emailed the RPA to ask for an extension , as yet with no response. (Higher Tier agreement 624526)

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