Antony Ollerton, an arable farmer from Wigan, used two Capital Grant schemes in 2019 and 2020 which allowed him to concrete the farmyard.
“I first heard about the schemes on a Liverpool Agricultural Discussion Society trip to Germany in 2018 and decided six months later to dip my toes in,” Mr Ollerton says.
“The schemes enabled me to concrete the yard which was helpful as it would have taken us a long time to do tasks like this otherwise.
“We had to take photographs before, during and after to prove we were carrying out the concreting work, but I found the process easy to do and we received our money back a month and a half after submitting all the invoices and evidence.”
On January 1, 2021, Mr Ollerton began his Countryside Stewardship mid-tier agreement.
“The experience with the grant schemes encouraged me to get involved in a bigger scheme and next month we will start some of the work once it dries up, such as concreting, putting tracks in, fencing and hedging,” Mr Ollerton adds.
“I am also hoping to put up a spray filling area station too.”
John Jacques, a livestock farmer near Blackburn, Lancashire, secured an attractive package for his 2021 Countryside Stewardship Mid-Tier agreement despite not being in a ‘high priority targeting area’.
He says: “I was previously involved in a scheme 20 years ago but thought I would come back in again given the current agricultural climate and have another look with fresh eyes.
“The scheme will see 1,000 metres of new hedges put in, as well as maintenance of existing ones.
“It will also enable us to put in new fences and carry out dry stone wall restorations.
“While it has been easy going, the capital work has to be done within two years and the hedges need to be planted by the end of this month, which is not a lot of time given the pandemic and people are self-isolating.
“However, I would not hesitate to do it again and believe most farmers would find it advantageous.
“It costs nothing to have a look at it.”