July Professional Ponderings
The longest day of the year has officially kicked off summer with some blistering sunshine across the country!
Firstly to start off this month’s ponderings, an update for those of you who requested a Mid-Tier Countryside Stewardship Application Pack by 31st May 2018. The deadline for submitting your application has been extended by DEFRA to 31st August 2018. Remember, if you have included Water Capital Items in your application, it may be necessary for your local Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer to visit the farm and submit a letter of support with your application, therefore please don’t delay in contacting your local officer for assistance. The Agricultural Team are assisting with various applications, so please do not hesitate to contact a member of the team if you require any advice.
Keeping on the theme of Grants and Funding, we have assisted with many successful LEADER Grant Applications over the last year, from equestrian buildings to fertiliser spreaders. LEADER is a community-lead scheme that provides funding for projects which create jobs, help businesses and rural communities to grow, and develop the rural economy.
There are grants available within six categories:
Increasing farm productivity
Supporting micro and small businesses and farm diversification
Boosting rural tourism
Providing rural services
Providing cultural and heritage activity
Increasing forestry productivity
The amount you can apply for depends upon the size of your business, the type of project and the costs involved and grants will typically be limited to a maximum of 40% of the project’s total eligible costs. If you are thinking about diversifying, or you have a potential project which could be eligible for LEADER funding, please contact one of our Agricultural Team for more information.
Now, the ponderings wouldn’t be the same without a quick note on BPS! There are a few points to remember at this time of year. Firstly, many of you will have used hedges to meet your 5% EFA requirement this year. In order to claim on eligible hedges they need to be shown correctly on the RPA’s online maps, therefore if you have claimed for greening on hedge lengths that are not shown on the online maps, an RLE1 Form must be submitted by 6th July to inform the RPA of this. Next up, you will be aware that there are currently Cross Compliance restrictions on cutting or trimming hedgerows until 31st August. However you can apply for a derogation from these rules which allows some flexibility on cutting hedgerows for those sowing oilseed rape or temporary grass in August. In order to use this derogation you will of course have to apply to the RPA as soon as possible. Finally, now that BPS claims have been submitted, the land and cross compliance requirements associated with the business are liable to be inspected by the RPA, therefore please remember to keep all records up to date and ensure you remain compliant to the Cross Compliance requirements. Please contact one of the Agricultural Team if you require further information.
On a final note, this week is the final week that our 2017/2018 Placement Student, Grace Millbank, will be with us. I’m sure many of you will know her from the market and after a year of hard work, Grace is now heading off to America for the summer, on the YFC travel programme, before returning to Harper Adams University for her final year.
We have welcomed Charlotte Martinson to the team, who will be taking over Graces’ role as our Placement Student for 2018/2019. Please do say hello to Charlotte if you see her in the market or at one of the Shows where we have a stand.
Verity Straker – Rural Surveyor
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