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https://defrafarming.blog.gov.uk/2021/06/23/how-farming-is-changing/

Farming in England

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Future Farming and Countryside Programme

Food is still the primary purpose of farming, and always will be.

If we want farming and food production to be resilient and sustainable over the long term, then farming and nature can and must go hand in hand.

So, together with famers and land managers, we're designing schemes that work for farm businesses, food production and the environment.

On this blog, we share what we're working on, what we're learning and ways for you to get involved.

New funding for farmers

Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) in England will be replaced with delinked payments in 2024. Visit GOV.UK for the official guidance on delinking.

Our new schemes can be divided into one-off payments and ongoing payments.

One-off payments

For equipment, technology and infrastructure

For research and innovation

To improve animal health and welfare

To improve tree health

To support parks, AONBs and Broads

To leave farming

Ongoing payments

To improve soil health

To better understand moorland

To manage habitats, woodlands, flood risk and water pollution.

To make space for nature

To restore landscapes and ecosystems at scale 

To restore peatlands

To plant trees and manage woodland

To join farming (trial coming in 2022)

Don't forget, you can also get free business advice through the Future Farming Resilience Fund.

Visit Funding for Farmers on GOV.UK. It contains details of new schemes and links to apply.

Learn more

You can read more about our future farming plans in the following publications:

Payments for Farming booklet

The Payments for Farmers booklet contains details of new funding opportunities. It replaces the previous 'Farming is Changing booklet'.

Payments for Farming leaflet

The Payments for Farmers leaflet contains an overview of new funding opportunities. It replaces the previous 'Farming is Changing leaflet'.

How the Sustainable Farming Incentive works

The Sustainable Farming Incentive leaflet provides an overview of how the scheme works.

The Agricultural Transition Plan

The Agricultural Transition Plan sets out the changes we are going to make to agricultural policy in England from 1 January 2021. It also covers what these changes will mean for farmers and land managers.

Agricultural Transition Plan: June 2021 progress update

The June 2021 progress update also covers further details of the early roll out of the Sustainable Farming Incentive ahead of the scheme opening in Spring 2022. This includes eligibility and how farmers can be rewarded through the scheme.

The Trade and Agriculture Commission

The Trade and Agriculture Commission will advise the government on how to make sure UK farmers do not face unfair competition nor have their high animal welfare and production standards undermined. It will also find new export opportunities for the UK agricultural industry – in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Previous Q&As

Learn more about our schemes through podcasts and Q&A sessions. Catch up on previous sessions. 

You may also be interested in:

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9 comments

  1. Comment by Olia posted on

    Thank you for this overview!

    Reply
  2. Comment by Hugh Mason posted on

    The fact that there is political change to English agriculture has to be accepted. What is ignored, however, is that most of the world’s agriculture is supported financially one way or another (look at what is happening to US agriculture, currently). This is for, presumably, good political reason. A government’s first duty is to protect its people from hurt and hunger – surely? People certainly riot when there is no food. The English farmer is having his support withdrawn very quickly – most English farmers can only generate income once a year. The political pledge that the English farmer would be no worse off than under CAP is falling apart. The UK government has done the easy bit, of taking money away. It appears not to know what to replace the support with. If it does not see agriculture as a necessity it should at least have the decency to say so and say so quite clearly. If it has detail for future funding, the government does not wish to share this with those that will be involved – this makes planning virtually impossible. This situation is made worse as many schemes (environmental or otherwise) are being closed down. Retaining them may well have helped bridged the gap, whilst meeting “public money for public goods”

    It has now been much quoted that the government is allowing time for the English farmer to improve his/her productivity to compete with imports from abroad. Of those that make this statement it has to be asked “what on earth do you think a farmer does most of his day?”. At this moment in time the English farmer has more knowledge than he/she has ever had and yet, productivity (at least in the part of English agriculture I am involved in) is going backwards. Look at any long chart you want. It can be said that government bureaucrats, today, have more involvement in English farming than they’ve ever had. It is political nonsense to suggest that government is going to “set farmers free” whilst stating that it will introduce new rules for the activity – it has to be reasoned there are rules. The Conservative Party has, in the past, made much of “gold plating” EU rules. Is it seriously suggested that the government is going to have a lesser role in the future? That is certainly not the direction of travel of the present government with regards its policies across the country. Not yet commented much on but, English farmers will be reporting some of the worst financial results in living memory over the next 18 months or so. When the UK banks see this they will start to apply pressure for loan repayment/asset sales. This will suppress values and round in the circle we will go. If interest rates rise, we will just go round more quickly. This will be during the period that the government is removing financial support. Farmers have the highest suicide rate of any profession. As the support disappears it will be to the sound of shotguns going off. It will be a “levelling up” of sorts though, I suppose. Politically perhaps the government thinks it does not have to take English agriculture with it.As it currently seems to me, this government is taking some 40% of English agriculture to bankruptcy and the balance, if agriculture is their prime source of income, will not be happy. It perhaps will be likened to what happened to the coal industry. The difference is that the coal miners at least had a community to help them through that period. English farmers, in the main, do not.

    Reply
    • Replies to Hugh Mason>

      Comment by Sarah Stewart posted on

      Hello Hugh,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. You're right, leaving the EU represents a significant change, but it also gives us the opportunity to do things differently and, we think, better.

      Our goal is to support our famers to be profitable, to produce healthy food and to do so in a way that makes a positive impact on our environment. To achieve this, we're actively rewarding farmers for the environmentally sustainable actions they take. I hope this page goes some way to demonstrate that agri-environment schemes aren't vanishing. We have three coming in and we’re managing the transition from existing schemes to new schemes in a way that works for everyone.

      Farming is tough and uncertainty is stressful, so both my policy and communications colleagues are working hard to make sure that we tell farmers what they need to do and when - here on the blog, on GOV.UK, in the press, at events and through our networks.

      Through things like the Farming Resilience Fund, we're supporting farmers with their business planning so that the seven-year period of transition is manageable. For those who wish to leave farming, we're offering a lump sum payment. We're also working on attracting new entrants into the sector.

      One of the reasons we created this blog was to work in the open and to give people a chance to comment and get involved. You'll see we talk a lot about 'co-design' for the same reason. It is so important that farmers, land managers, foresters, agronomists (in fact anyone affected) is involved in the design of schemes and policies. They are the experts. They experience the day-to-day reality of farming. It must work for them. If you have any thoughts on how we can do things better, drop me a line. If you'd like to get involved in our co-design work, my colleagues really would love to hear from you.

      Best wishes and thanks again for visiting,
      Sarah

      Reply
  3. Comment by Michael posted on

    New Entrant Support Scheme - looking forward to this.

    Reply
  4. Comment by Lucinda posted on

    Thank you for the opportunity to contribute. I make the following points from a landscape officer's perspective:-

    1. incentivise sustainable soils-management on all land (not just peat) to retain and improve carbon-capture capacity, protect soil ecology & soil structure. (This should also help to de-motivate inappropriate use of soils, and loss of soils such as through waste-tipping and surface-sealing)

    2.incentivise space for new field trees & hedge-systems (hedge-system = trees+shrubs+ditch+bank+verges) - include smaller-machinery incentives to prevent boundary-loss, help negate need for gate-widening and to reduce extent of hardstandings (this could include reward for machinery-repair rather than replacement and should be done in liaison with machinery manufacturers to ensure efficient ‘field-gate-sized’ modern equipment is available)

    3. incentivise rainwater-harvesting systems and new sustainable drainage components (e.g. swales, naturalised detention basins & permanent ponds), particularly the re-instatement of historic seasonal or permanent ponds

    4.Include payments for green roofs & living walls for all existing & new agricultural buildings and include non-agricultural but significant landscape buildings, such as equestrian buildings, which are becoming ever-more prevalent in the landscape

    Reply
    • Replies to Lucinda>

      Comment by Sarah Stewart posted on

      Hi Lucinda,

      I'm grateful that you took the time to share your thoughts - thank you. I've sent your comment to my co-design colleagues. They'll make sure your points reach the right policy teams.

      Perhaps you might like to contribute further thoughts through a workshop or discussion? If so, email ffcpcodesign@defra.gov.uk. We'd love to learn more from your insight.

      Best wishes,
      Sarah

      Reply
  5. Comment by BEN ROWLINSON posted on

    Unfortunately areas round my area that have been allowed to revert to nature under the guise of conservation have become an impenetrable mass of nettles ,docks and brambles blocking footpaths and bridleways.
    Will not be surprised when the whole country becomes like this and all food has to be imported with it's attendant food miles because of our own farmers have been put out of business because of some of these pittance paying schemes giving them no chance of competing with other countries imports.

    Reply
    • Replies to BEN ROWLINSON>

      Comment by Sarah Stewart posted on

      Hi Ben,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Our goal is to support famers to be profitable, to produce healthy food and to do so in a way that makes a positive impact on our environment.

      Through our environmental land management schemes, government will incentivise farmers and other land managers to deliver public goods. There are 6 public goods and public access is an important part of the last public good on that list: enhanced engagement with the environment. I'll share the Agricultural Transition Plan at the bottom of this comment - it contains more detail.

      Getting anything right - whether it's payment rates or access - relies on government listening to (and working with) farmers, land managers and other stakeholders. Our co-design approach is one of the ways we're doing that. If you'd like to share your thoughts, we really would be grateful for them. Just email ffcpcodesign@defra.gov.uk.

      Best wishes,
      Sarah

      http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/agricultural-transition-plan-2021-to-2024

      Reply
  6. Comment by Connor mciver posted on

    Hi there I have just started farming myself as of July 25th 2020 and it is not easy money wise and getting started I have had no help what so ever so looking forward to seeing what help etc comes along. I will be honest we have spent 30 thousand out of our own pocket and loan etc that all needs payed back. We currently rent 65 acres of land and it is a massive struggle currently we are just finishing our first lambing at home and have lambed a total of 110 sheep between hogs and gimmers. I would love to be able to help and contribute to anything I can to make this work many thanks Connor

    Reply

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