Agri-environment schemes—the Organic Entry Level Stewardship Scheme
Agri-environment schemes—the Organic Entry Level Stewardship Scheme

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Agri-environment schemes—the Organic Entry Level Stewardship Scheme
  • Management options
  • Eligibility
  • Other requirements
  • The Cross Compliance Conditions
  • Organic Entry Level Stewardship Scheme payments and penalties
  • Dealing with scheme land
  • Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Reform 2014–2020

Brexit: The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. This has implications for the schemes providing for agricultural subsidies in England and Wales, which will no longer be derived from EU Common Agricultural Policy. We will introduce content to address the new regimes once the legislation (including the Agriculture Bill) has been enacted.

The OELS closed to new applications on 26 September 2014.

The Organic Entry Level Stewardship (OELS) Scheme is one element of the Environmental Stewardship Scheme , the aim of which is to promote effective environmental management.

The OELS Scheme concentrates on organic farming and the benefits that it brings in relation to:

  1. soil science

  2. biodiversity

  3. crop breeding

  4. animal husbandry

  5. ecology

  6. animal welfare standards

  7. preservation of natural resources

The OELS Scheme funds participation in a wide variety of organic management options under five-year agreements with qualifying farmers. The OELS Scheme is funded by the UK government and the EU, and is managed by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) (in succession to Natural England).

Management options

The OELS Scheme funds participation in over 90 options for managing organic land. The Environmental Stewardship Handbook, Fourth Edition, January 2013 (NE351) sets out the full list of options. The third edition of the handbook, which applies to funding agreements since 2007, is also available.

Each option attracts a certain number of points for each hectare