New round of government funding launched for collaborative farming communities

A sixth round of the popular Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund has been announced today, giving groups of farmers and landowners in England time to consider making an application ahead of December 2021 when the application window opens.

The £2.5 million fund encourages collaboration and knowledge-sharing amongst the farming community.

To apply, groups must submit plans showing how they will work together and share knowledge to protect and enhance their local environment, in line with their local Countryside Stewardship priorities.

Successful facilitation groups will also offer invaluable training, support and advice to potential applicants for agri-environment schemes.

This year’s fund includes support for new environmental priorities such as the improvement of air quality through slurry removal, reduction of ammonia emissions, tree planting and shelters; and managing beaver activity that will offer support and advice for landowners when beavers move onto their land.

As highlighted in the latest evaluation report of the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund, published last month by Natural England, the scheme plays a significant role in fostering and strengthening an engaged, collaborative and environmentally aware farming community.

Farming Minister Victoria Prentis said:

By getting involved in Countryside Stewardship, farmers and landowners alike can play a crucial role in supporting our efforts to improve the environment and create cleaner, greener landscapes.

“With today’s announcement we intend to provide sufficient time for potential groups to form and think about their objectives and local priorities, ahead of the fund opening in December.

“I encourage all interested individuals to get involved.”