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https://defrafarming.blog.gov.uk/2022/09/27/our-commitment-to-environmental-protections/

Our commitment to environmental protections

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: environmental land management schemes, Future Farming and Countryside Programme
Cullompton Hill
Credit: Alison Day

Following recent media speculation about the future of farming policy in England, you may have some questions about our work.

We’ve published a post on Defra's media blog which sets out our response and position.

For the latest updates from the programme, subscribe to the Future Farming blog.

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11 comments

  1. Comment by Edward Wilkinson posted on

    I think people need firm dates and timetables for completion of the plans, since you say you're sticking to them.

    The uncertainty is adding to the frustration. It's a bit like being stuck in a train tunnel, with the lights off, and not getting any updates as to how soon you'll start moving again and when you'll reach your destination. The statement put out this morning just says, "We intend to reach your destination", not how soon.

    Reply
  2. Comment by John Hawkins posted on

    This Press Release is lovely but Farmers would rather know when and how much rather than what and how! Please advise and help reduce our confusion levels

    Reply
  3. Comment by John hawkins posted on

    Can you tell us when farmers will be told what this actually means please? i.e what you want us to do..when and who is paying for it and how much? Thank you

    Reply
    • Replies to John hawkins>

      Comment by Sarah Stewart posted on

      Hello John,

      Thanks for your questions. I'll do my best to answer them.

      Who is paying for our schemes: All funding released from reductions in Direct Payments will be re-invested into delivering new schemes. We're keeping the allocation of funding between our schemes flexible according to demand and priorities. We'll maintain current average levels of investment in farming (£2.4 billion per year in England) over the life of this parliament.

      What's available: You'll see that we're providing farmers with 2 ways of receiving payments: one-off payments (grants) and regular payments through ongoing schemes. You can pick and choose from the offer to find a package that works for you.

      This link will take you a page which shows what's available and more information https://www.gov.uk/guidance/funding-for-farmers

      An overview of our offer and timeline for roll out can be found here https://defrafarming.blog.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/246/2021/06/Payments-for-Farmers-July-2022-1.pdf

      How much: The Sustainable Farming Incentive, an example of an ongoing payment, is open. The rates and actions can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sustainable-farming-incentive-full-guidance/sustainable-farming-incentive-full-guidance#getting-paid

      For our ongoing schemes, throughout and beyond the agricultural transition period, we will review payment rates to ensure they reflect changes in long term trends in costs, incentivise uptake and help us to meet our 25-year environmental targets. These rates are informed by agricultural evidence from specialist consultancies and Defra surveys. To set the rates for SFI, an updated assessment was made of costs and income foregone, which is the methodology used in our environmental schemes such as Countryside Stewardship.

      If you look on the right hand side of the blog (if you're on a computer or tablet) or right at the bottom (if you're on a mobile) you'll see a list of links to our grants. Or you can visit the page linked above: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/funding-for-farmers

      I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, let me know.
      Best wishes,
      Sarah

      Reply
  4. Comment by James Duncan posted on

    unless there's some area payment to under pin food production I'll be cutting production by 50-75%....simply to much risk

    Reply
    • Replies to James Duncan>

      Comment by Sarah Stewart posted on

      Hi James,

      Thanks for visiting the blog. The schemes and grants that we're offering are designed to support food production.

      In the Agricultural Transition Plan, the government outlined its plans to move away from area-based subsidies. We know that there is a reliance on these subsidies so we're making the change gradually.

      There are 2 ways to receive the new payments now that we've left the EU: through one-off grants and ongoing schemes. You can choose a package that works for you. Here's a link which shows everything we plan to roll out: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/funding-for-farmers

      We will make sure that all farm types, regardless of size, location and ownership or the systems they use, can benefit from our new offer.

      If you haven't done so already, please do make use of the free business advice that we're funding. Independent advisers will explain what the changes mean for you and will help you plan for the future. You can take your pick from a list featured on this page: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/get-free-business-advice-for-your-farm

      Best wishes,
      Sarah

      Reply
  5. Comment by James Duncan posted on

    thank you Sarah.... but confidence is low amongst farmers with regard to the scheme.... polls on the farming forum give it less than 10% support

    I won't stop scaling back production until the signals are more positive

    I believe big environmental groups have to much sway...they'll hoover up the money

    the old stewardship schemes (which I'm in) offer tried/proven outcomes IMO

    without some base line production support ...say £60/ac....any commodity price shocks will tip food production 'off the cliff"

    Reply
    • Replies to James Duncan>

      Comment by Sarah Stewart posted on

      Thanks, James. We're definitely alive to the fact that we need to do as much as we can to build confidence and trust. By blogging, talking to farmers at events and having regular conversations with stakeholder organisations, we're working to achieve that. That said, we'll only improve with feedback, so I've passed on your comment to my colleagues working in the engagement team. While polls can provide useful insight, what we're seeing our side is that every week, people are applying for SFI, applications are being processed quickly and agreements are being issued. Take up is in line with our expectations. We'll resume our usual blogging schedule soon, so the team will be able to share more about what we're working on and, of course, comments/observations/feedback are always welcome.Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.
      Best wishes,
      Sarah

      Reply
  6. Comment by L H posted on

    Can you confirm please that you are able to transfer from an HLS/ELS extension (new 5 year offer) to a new improved Countryside Stewardship scheme should you decide that is a better option and you are accepted?

    Many thanks

    Reply
    • Replies to L H>

      Comment by Sarah Stewart posted on

      Hello,

      We will help those in existing HLS agreements make the transition to evolved CS as they become available. This year, we offered 5-year extensions for those in expiring HLS agreements, to provide greater security to agreement holders and help with business planning. Anyone with an existing HLS agreement can terminate early to enter a new agreement at an agreed point, without penalty, provided any new agreement delivers equivalent levels of environmental outcomes.

      I hope this helps.
      Best wishes,
      Sarah

      Reply

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