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Abstract

The paper builds on the results of previous studies investigating whether farmers profit by participation in the Entry Level Scheme (ELS). Standard payment levels (derived from points) under ELS are fixed at rates that are expected only to compensate farmers for income foregone and costs incurred. There is no profit element as such. There is therefore no reason to expect participation to be profitable. However farm level examination of the income foregone and costs incurred in previous studies based in other parts of England have shown that this can be achieved. The study is based in the Lincolnshire Wolds, an area dominated by arable farming but with topography and associated natural features that offer some variety in the mix of farming and the measures that can qualify for environmental prescriptions under the scheme. The study concluded that farmers were able to profit by ELS participation but that the extent of this varied according to the type of environmental features on the farm and whether arable land was taken out of production. These conclusions have potential implications for scheme design, farmer uptake and additionality in the use of public funds to acquire environmental benefits.

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