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Agricultural Development Scheme legislative background

Following a review, the Countryside Care Scheme was renamed as the Agricultural Development Scheme, with effect from 01 April 2015.

The original Countryside Care Scheme 2009 was presented to Tynwald in December 2008 and approved at that sitting. It was implemented on 1 April 2009. Cross Compliance requirements came into effect from the date of approval.

The Scheme and its associated Government Circulars can be downloaded from this page. The Scheme required changes to some existing legislation covering support Schemes and the amended 'Agricultural Schemes (miscellaneous amendments and repeals) Scheme 2008' can be downloaded on this page.

Definition of Agriculture  

Purpose of the policy

DEFA policy is to provide a single definition of agriculture for use as follows:

  1. As a clear statement of the Department’s vision of agriculture

  2. As a single definition of agriculture which will be used in all future schemes. Where current schemes use a different definition, they will be amended so that one definition becomes common to all

  3. To provide a mechanism for addressing ambiguity within existing schemes where definitions may currently vary, until such time as the definition of agriculture is amended as per point 2


The Department seeks to provide support to agricultural businesses, where the core enterprise clearly consists of 'conventional' farming enterprises which fall within the definition of agriculture given below. However, it is expected that a significant minority of any individual agricultural business may consist of diversified commercial enterprises which are undertaken on-farm and complement the conventional enterprises.

Definition of agriculture 

Agriculture means: the production, rearing or growing of agricultural products including harvesting, milking, breeding animals and keeping of animals for farming purposes or maintaining land in good agricultural and environmental condition.

Procedure for establishing compliance of applicants

The Department will assess the contribution of the enterprises using factors such as the proportion of labour and asset utilisation, turnover and margin of the respective enterprises, to clarify that alternative enterprises are anticipated to:

  1. yield commercial returns

  2. form a subsidiary activity in comparison with the core conventional agricultural activities

The Department would not support any specific elements of activity that would be eligible for support from other Government organisations or Departments.

Examples of on-farm enterprises which might be expected to occur within an agricultural business are: (this list is not intended to be exhaustive).

  • Small scale on-farm enterprises that utilise conventional or traditional buildings which have become redundant from conventional agricultural activity

  • Processing of agricultural products to add value before sale

  • Small scale commercial equestrian activity

  • The provision of agricultural contracting services

  • Small scale tourism accommodation and tourist attractions

  • Short rotation crops for biomass production, for example, coppiced willow

The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture is committed to ensuring that its services are accessible to all. If you require these documents in an alternative format and / or language please contact us to discuss your needs.

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