The government has committed to maintain the farming budget for England at £2.4 billion per year throughout this parliament. We will be gradually reducing spending on Basic Payments each year over the next 6 years. Instead, we will make the money available to farmers through one-off grants for capital investment in equipment and technology, and ongoing payments for environmental actions and related advice and support. Farmers will be able to get paid for a combination of actions that they choose, to suit their farm business, food production and the environment.
It's hard to get started in farming, or any related land-based business. Newcomers to the industry (usually known as "new entrants") face all sorts of barriers. It's challenging for them to find land, secure finance and progress their businesses. When we published the Agricultural Transition Plan towards the end of 2020, we said that we would establish a support scheme for new entrants, and make the whole process easier. This blog post is an update on what we've learned so far by working collaboratively with people across the sector and the next steps.
The Farming Innovation Programme provides research and development funding to farmers and growers who want to develop and use new, innovative methods and technologies. The aim of the fund is to support farmers to become more productive, environmentally sustainable and resilient to the global food security challenges of the future. You might remember that alongside UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) we launched the first rounds of funding in October, and 2 more in March. In this post, I’ll share information about our latest funding opportunity: the Research Starter Projects Competition.
From today, Wednesday 30 March, you can apply for a share of £20.5 million funding in 2 new competitions in the Farming Innovation Programme in partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
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.
Recently we ran the first round of our new Farming Equipment and Technology Fund. We received 5,624 eligible applications worth a total overall value of just over £53.5 million. This is triple our initial budget allocation for the fund.
Today, we've blogged about how we're working with farmers and others across the industry to use slurry to our advantage. Farmers told us that finance often stands in the way of improving their slurry and nutrient management systems. Investing in slurry equipment and infrastructure is expensive. Particularly when it comes to integrating new technologies, techniques and building infrastructure. In this post, we'll share how we've been developing slurry grants to better support farmers and what to expect later this year.
At the end of last year, we published a manual on the Improving Farm Productivity grant, which is part of the Farming Transformation Fund. Today we opened the window for applications. We’re also hosting a webinar next week for you to find out more.
You might remember that the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme opened for applications in July. In August, we shared a video made by some of our Protected Landscape colleagues about the sorts of projects that were eligible for funding. In this post, I’d like to share some examples of the things land managers and farmers are doing with their funding.
In this post, we provide an update on the Farming Investment Fund.