Thanks for that,my father used to tell me there is only one time get something,and thats when it"s there to be had.2018 start Higher Tier here. I worked on the basis that it will take DEFRA more than 5 years to come up with a workable ELMS plus the Chancellor has guaranteed to honour all existing CS contracts.
I agree ,so much more needs to be done .The problem with the word "conservation" is that it can affect the vision of some farmers.I hope that the problems with payments become less now that the RPA have the administration & we'll be free of the bureaucratic nonsense from Brussels sometime in the future. The RPA will have less scapegoats though they are still woefully underfunded. Putting that aside, if you've already identified your least productive parts of the farm or have them lying fallow post ELS/HLS because you realise why you took those areas out, perhaps it's time to get something other than just greening on those areas.
I'll bet every farm has 3-10% of its area that does nothing but lose money. It may be awkward corners, outlying, shaded, wet, steep or whatever but the productive value is low. Why not get another payment for it? This is just the kind of thing that Gove wants to see. England has dropped from 70% participation in ELS/HLS to around 16% in CS. To reverse the decline in the red list species we need over a third of the country in CS measures.
Don't forget that landscape level projects like the farm clusters will be targeted for funding even more. https://www.farmerclusters.com/
We have a mid teir offer that will pay £200/ha/year on the land it occupies which is all poor cropping land. To implement it would be quite easy for us as we have game covers planted annually so we would just need to change the seeds effectively but I still can't bring myself to sign it. Something is not sitting right which may be down to the stories of people having inspections with out of date maps and inspectors who don't appear to know what they are doing.I am just in the process of acquiring a new farm.Would it be wise to try for a higher tier scheme or wait to see what comes along post brexit ?
Thats kind of where I am as well in that its unused land really with a bit of capital items for new hedges which we would of done anyway at some point.It’s a worry and I’m sure I’ll be having a good rant during the next 5 years when I get a big fine for dubious reasons but since the land is out of production anyway I may as well try to derive some income from it.