THE payment rates for both Countryside Stewardship revenue options and capital items will change, Defra has confirmed.

The new revenue rates have been introduced for all new and existing 'Mid Tier' and 'Higher Tier 'Countryside Stewardship agreements, from January 1, 2023. On average, there will be a 10% increase in revenue rates, Defra explained.

However, this will differ between agreements and not all revenue rates will increase if the evidence suggests current rates reflect market conditions. The change is set to be rolled out to the some 30,000 Countryside Stewardship agreement holders across England.

Defra said it would continue to review payment rates across its environmental land management offers. Later this year, the department will publish how it will routinely review payment rates from 2024 onwards.

Latest Farming News:

Defra has not applied this increase to farmers with legacy Environmental Stewardship agreements as, on average, payment in that scheme is higher than those in Countryside Stewardship.

Changes have also been made so that Environmental Stewardship agreement holders can move into Countryside Stewardship smoothly, when they have a successful application.

Capital payments for items including one-off projects such as hedgerow creation or concrete yard renewal to reduce diffuse water pollution have also been updated. On average, capital rates will increase by 48 percent with a small proportion staying the same or decreasing, Defra explained.

Capital payment rate changes will apply to new Countryside Stewardship agreements only and not to existing agreements.