Earlier this year, I shared an update on the New Entrant Support scheme pilots. In the post, I included portraits of our participants. Since the pilots finished in May, we have been busy evaluating them using participant surveys, interviews and reports from the pilot leaders. With close to 200 pilot participants, there was a lot of valuable feedback to analyse, and we continue to learn from it. In this post, I’d like to share our initial findings so far.
Through 5 pilots, we’re exploring different ways to support new entrants to develop successful land-based businesses in England. We’re now over halfway through. In this post, I’ll share a brief overview of our participants, what we’ve learned and our next steps.
We want to better support those who want to enter farming and develop land-based businesses. One idea that we said we were keen to test through a pilot was incubation: providing tactical support to young businesses through the early stages of development. We put out a call for proposals from organisations to lead these projects through the new entrant support pilot. The bids we received over the summer were impressive. Now that we have pilot leads, you can apply to take part in the pilot.
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.