Environmental Stewardship (ES) is the centrepiece in delivering the Government's sustainable agriculture and rural policies. The scheme contributes to Defra’s strategic priorities for natural resource protection, sustainable farming and food and sustainable rural communities. The Entry Level Scheme (ELS) Training and Information Programme (ETIP) was developed to ensure high renewal rates into ELS; to ensure strong uptake of UELS; to bring in new entrants to the scheme; and to improve option choice and option implementation.
This evaluation used a large-scale survey of farmers to achieve the project objectives:
- To determine the impact that ETIP is having on option selection at farm level for ELS renewals;
- To identify the specific elements of ETIP (training, group events and consultancy) that are having an impact on option selection;
- To identify farm and farmer types that ETIP is not connecting with, including an assessment of whether alternative approaches may be more appropriate for those farmers using an agent to complete their ELS applications;
- To identify where in the renewal process (i.e. at what stage in decision making) ETIP is impacting;
- To establish the relationship between the length and the nature of exposure to ETIP and the strength of impact;
- To establish the extent to which changes in renewals and option choices can be attributed to ETIP;
- To identify other factors which may be impacting in a positive or negative manner on the effectiveness of ETIP.