The English Countryside Stewardship Scheme for organic farm conversion and maintenance is now open

The English Countryside Stewardship Scheme is now open

The funding window for organic farm conversion and maintenance will remain open until 29th July 2022.   

The Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) provides financial incentives for farmers, woodland owners, foresters and land managers to look after and improve the environment.  

Organic farming seeks to work with natural processes using methods that are designed to achieve a sustainable production system with limited use of external inputs.   

The Rural Payments Agency have outlined funding available that supports their aims by:  

  • conserving and restoring wildlife habitats 
  • flood risk management 
  • woodland creation and management 
  • reducing widespread water pollution from agriculture 
  • keeping the character of the countryside 
  • preserving historical features in the landscape 
  • encouraging educational access 

 The main elements of the scheme are: 

  • Mid-tier 
  • Wildlife Offers 
  • Higher-tier 
  • Capital grants 
  • Woodland support grants 

If you are a farmer or grower and you want to sell products as organic you must hold a legal certificate of registration from an approved organic certification body like Soil Association Certification. After your CSS application is submitted, you can apply to your chosen Certification Body and begin the process of converting your land to organic.    

CSS rates are now on average 30% higher for most types of farmland, with increases of between 50-110% for conversion rates. These rate changes are inclusive of all existing agreement holders, with effect from January 2022.   

Find out more about the rates on offer in England, how long it takes to convert and learn more about organic conversion.