Farmers invited to meetings on grants and stewardship schemes

YDNPA farm conservation adviser, Jane Le Cocq, centre, assists farmers to score meadows for species-richness.

Farmers in Richmondshire are being invited to evening meetings in Reeth and Hawes to hear the latest news and information on grants and stewardship schemes.

Farm conservation and woodland advisers from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority will provide information on Countryside Stewardship Mid and Higher Tier applications; the Hedgerows and Boundaries scheme; and Water Capital and Woodland grants.

Meetings will be held at The Fountain Pub in Hawes on Thursday, February 13 and the Buck Hotel in Reeth on Thursday, February 20, with a free supper included.

Farm conservation adviser Jane Le Cocq said:  “Everyone is waiting to learn more about the government’s proposed new Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMs), which will replace Countryside Stewardship by 2024 and be trialled nationally from October next year.

“But it’s unlikely we’ll get any details on ELMs in the near future, so during the evening meeting we will be concentrating on the existing agri-environment scheme, Countryside Stewardship.

“Ministers have confirmed that if farmers enter into a new Countryside Stewardship agreement this year, they will be able to exit it early, without penalty, to join ELMs when it comes along.

“Countryside Stewardship has been much improved over the past year and we think it offers some decent options for upland farmers.

“The application window will open in February, and we are looking to offer support to applicants.”

For farmers who cannot make the Reeth or Hawes dates, evening meetings are also being held in Settle Rugby Club on Monday, February 3 at 7.30pm; Sedbergh People’s Hall on Wednesday, February 5 and Orton Market Hall on Monday, February 10.

All meetings start at 7.30pm.

People wishing to attend are being asked to contact the farm conservation team on 01756 751654 or email sally.howorth@yorkshiredales.org.uk