Farming and rural countryside community.

The sixth round of the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund for farmers and landowners in England is now open.

The £2.5 million fund encourages collaboration and knowledge-sharing amongst the farming community. Facilitators are individuals and organisations who can bring farmers, foresters, and other land managers together to improve the local natural environment at a landscape scale. Successful facilitation groups will also offer training, support and advice to potential applicants for agri-environment schemes.

The funds applicants could receive as a Facilitator will depend on the number of holdings making up their group. They must have a minimum of four holdings and, although they can have unlimited members, only up to a maximum of 80 can be funded.

Applicants can apply for:
  • Up to £10,000 per year for activities such as field trips, training sessions, and sampling/testing of soil and plants, plus one-off consumable items such as binoculars and field guides.
  • £500 per member to cover costs of administration and management of the group.
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.

The 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.

The deadline to apply for the 2022 round of Facilitation funding is 19 January 2022. Agreements will run from 1 June 2022 for three years.