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Things we're doing

The UK Agriculture Partnership: reflections on the first meeting

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Grazing marshes/dyke Halvergate Marshes

Even though agricultural policy in the UK is devolved, each country in the union can benefit by working together. The UK Agriculture Partnership is a forum which meets to share technical information on common challenges. The subject of our first meeting was water quality. Our aim was to understand the nature and scale of the challenges, and how we could address them together. In this post, we share some insights from our first meeting and a link to a video of the event.

Landscape Recovery: your questions answered

Boardwalks LNR, Peterborough Cambridgeshire

In February, we launched the first round of the Landscape Recovery pilot. Landscape Recovery is 1 of our 3 environmental land management schemes. To support potential bidders, we hosted a webinar to share information on the application process and answer questions from those thinking of applying. As you can imagine, we received a lot of questions on the day. In this post, we summarise some of the most-asked questions and our replies.

Sustainable Farming Incentive: standards, payment rates, and how to prepare

Dry stone walls, Derbyshire Dales

We plan to launch the Sustainable Farming Incentive in June. Today we can share the final standards and payment rates, our approach to the applications process and how to prepare, In this post, I’ll provide an overview and share links to further information on GOV.UK. I’ll also explain how farmers have directly shaped the scheme through the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot, tests and trials, engagement sessions, co-design activity and discussions.

Fertiliser: updates and support

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The price of fertiliser has risen dramatically over the past year, but especially in recent months. Multiple global issues, including the war in Ukraine, have reduced gas and ammonium nitrate supply, forcing prices up. We know the impact of this affects the productivity and profit of farms in this country. We want to support our farmers through this growing season and beyond. In this post, we will share some updates in this area.

Monitoring, evaluating and learning in the Future Farming and Countryside Programme

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Small fields surrounded by mature hedgerows.

In previous blog posts we’ve written about how we’re adopting a test-and-learn approach across the Future Farming and Countryside Programme. We’re doing this to make sure our schemes, services and policies work for users before we scale them up. To make sure we’re on track to deliver our ambitions, we have a strategy to help us to monitor, evaluate and learn as we go. In this blog post, I’ll share a high-level overview of the strategy and some examples of how we’re putting it into effect.

The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund: review of items

Slurry injector injecting dirty water to a field via a umbilical system on the Blackdown Hills

The items for the first round of the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund were developed with farmers, industry groups and other stakeholders. We’re adopting the same approach for the next round. We want you to tell us which items should be included, which items should be removed and which specifications need to be updated.

Video: The North Cumbria Farmers Group

We're developing schemes that reward environmental land management. To make sure that those schemes work in practice, farmers and land managers across England are putting elements of those schemes to the test. It's one of the ways though which we're carrying out co-design. In this video, the North Cumbria Farmers Group share what they've been doing to help shape the future of our schemes.

Understanding and improving farming regulation

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Stanbrook Abbey

Some farming and land management activities are regulated to safeguard our environment and to protect the health of animals, plants and people. We do this through around 150 pieces of legislation, comprising primary and secondary legislation. All of this legislation applies to agricultural activity, and collectively constitutes what is known as the ‘regulatory baseline for agriculture’. This is a complex legislative picture and is not easy to navigate – we intend to improve and evolve this baseline in future as part of our agricultural transition outside of the European Union (EU). 

Future Farming Podcast: Government-funded innovation

In the seventh episode of the Future Farming podcast, Tim Mordan, Defra’s Head of Farming Innovation, Productivity and Science talks to Rui Andrês, CEO of Fieldwork Robotics, about their innovative raspberry robot picker.