Scottish farmers and crofters are reminded that they have until June 30, to apply for the 2021 round of the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS).

A limited AECS round has already opened earlier this year.

The restricted 2021 round focuses on designated sites; organics; management supporting farmland waders; corn buntings and corncrakes; slurry stores; and improving public access.

Those applying for the scheme have been encouraged by the Scottish government to ensure that applications are endorsed by the relevant project officer to support their claims for waders and corn bunting.

NFU Scotland has urged the Scottish government to provide clarity on future agri-environment management to secure the confidence of Scottish farmers and crofters as they continue to deliver on biodiversity and climate change outcomes whilst producing high quality, sustainable food.

NFU Scotland vice-president Andrew Connon said:

"The Agri-Environment Climate Scheme is vital in supporting Scottish farmers and crofters to tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.

"AECS supports Scottish farmers to deliver essential environmental benefits including peatland management, protecting vulnerable species, and providing habitats for pollinators on farm.

The scheme has huge buy in from the sector – evidenced by the participation of more than 3000 farms, crofts and estates – but this support is at risk unless future schemes run on a fully funded basis.

"NFU Scotland encourages the new Scottish government to make decisions on the future schemes a priority and provide a clear commitment on future agri-environment support."