In March, I blogged about the Future Farming Resilience Fund (FFRF). The FFRF provides business support to farmers and land managers to help them navigate the changes that are happening during the agricultural transition.
I wanted to give a short update on how this work is progressing.
Our 3-phase approach
We are taking a phased approach to the support: initial, interim and scale-up. The initial phase is now complete, and the interim phase is running until we can launch a national scale-up in April 2022. [UPDATE: We previously said that we would run the scale-up phase from April 2022, but we are now looking at a revised go-live date and will let you know when further information is available.]
We have carried out an evaluation of the initial phase and will produce a summary of findings in the next few weeks.
The summary report will provide a comprehensive overview, but ahead of that, early findings show that there was an improvement in the number of farmers who felt that they have the information they need to inform their business planning. Additionally, farmers also reported that they felt more encouraged and enabled to become more resilient, competitive, innovative and productive.
The next phase
The interim phase of support for 2021/22 will be rolled out to farmers and land managers from August through to March 2022.
We were pleased with the number of applications to the invitation to apply for a grant from a variety of organisations that provides excellent geographical coverage. We plan to announce the successful applicants in July. These organisations will then deliver the support to farmers and land managers from August.
To illustrate how this support could help farming businesses, participants in the initial phase reported that they:
- Felt supported to make plans for family succession and business expansion.
- Planned to take advantage of the opportunity to take up environmental land management schemes at scale to mitigate Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) loss.
- Planned to engage with their landlord to agree a long-term tourism diversification to provide a sustainable business for the current tenant.
- Planned to restructure the business including a machinery collaboration.
- Would start succession planning so that the next generation can take the business forward.
Support will be scaled up from April 2022. [UPDATE: we're now looking at Autumn 2022 for the national scale up. If any dates change, we will let you know.]
Look out for further updates on the blog as we move forward, including details about local providers once the grants have been awarded in July.