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Farming and Countryside Programme

Apply now for a water screening study 

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Waterbody fenced off under sunny skies

From today, small groups of farmers in England can apply for a Local Resource Option (LRO) screening study. An LRO is a water resources scheme that improves the resilience or supply of water in a local area. LRO screening studies are one way farmers and growers can better understand their options to improve the supply or resilience of water. In this post, I’ll share the background, explain how the studies work and include links to learn more and apply. 

Laying the hedgerow regulations

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Blackthorn hedgerow in the Spring Sunshine

We are pleased to tell you that legislation to protect hedgerows has today been laid in both Houses of Parliament. If approved by Parliament, the Management of Hedgerows (England) Regulations 2024 will put baseline hedgerow management practices into law, providing a consistent approach across all people operating on agricultural land. 

Water Restoration Fund: grants now available

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Groups of farmers in England can now apply for a grant to improve freshwater habitats. Through the new Water Restoration Fund, local groups can apply for funding to bolster their capacity and capabilities for delivery of on-the-ground projects which improve the water environment. In this post, we'll explain how the fund works.

Webinar follow up: the offer for arable and horticulture growers

On Thursday 29 February, we held a webinar for arable and field horticulture growers in England. In this post, I’ll share the recording and summarise the themes that emerged in the questions and I’ll set out the best ways for you to get answers.

Watch: webinar on the farming offer in 2024

On Friday 26 January, we held a webinar for farmers. During the session, we went through the actions and payments available through our environmental land management schemes in 2024. This post includes a link to the recording.

Supporting the tenanted sector in England

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Tenant farmers are at the heart of the rural economy, managing a third of all farmland in England. To meet our food security and environmental objectives, we must make sure that all farmers, including tenant farmers, can access our schemes and build thriving farm businesses. In this post, we’ll explain how we are continuing to design our schemes with tenant farmers in mind. We’ll provide an update on how we are embedding an understanding of the tenanted sector across Defra. We’ll also summarise the progress we’ve made so far.

Environmental land management in 2024: details of actions and payments

Sheep grazing in field with trees and farmland in the distance

Today we published an update to the Agricultural Transition Plan on GOV.UK. It includes our progress, priorities and plans for the coming years. In this post, I'll share a summary of the update which includes details of scheme payment rates, premium payments, new actions and plans for a single application service.