Farming is a constantly changing industry, even more so now the UK is outside the EU and no longer bound by the Common Agricultural Policy. The pandemic has also caused many farm businesses to evaluate whether they wish to expand the family business, invest in improved environmental credentials or discuss a retirement plan. With this change in the farming landscape, it’s difficult to determine which is the best course of action.
The existing direct payment schemes are all set to expire in 2024. The Government is in the process of designing and developing future schemes to replace those that were previously tied to our EU membership.
A number of new initiatives have already been introduced;
The Environment Secretary last month announced details on the Sustainable Farming Incentive 2022. This was specifically around how farmers will receive payments through this first of three environmental land management schemes.
The Government has also launched a consultation on the delinking of payments and the lump sum exit scheme. The aim here is to offer a fairer system to those who are ready to leave the sector and a greater flexibility for new entrants into the industry.
Alongside this announcement was one for the new Farming in Protected Landscapes programme. This provides one-off funding for farm businesses within National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty to support nature recovery, improve public access and mitigate climate change amongst other objectives.
As existing subsidies and payments are phased out and new ones like the above are introduced, the Government has introduced the Future Farming Resilience Fund. This fund is designed to support farmers and landowners through the transition to these new payment schemes.
Following an application process earlier this year, £10.7 million of funds was awarded by DEFRA to 19 organisations. This has been made available to advisors and professional bodies to offer business advice in programmes that will run through to March 2022.
NWA Professional have been successful in our bid for a grant, this will allow us to further extend our farm advisory services to businesses in our local area and offer support during the agricultural transition.
Our project aims to deliver a high level business resilience approach that considers short and long term options for those eligible to apply. Our team will evaluate the financial impacts and how new schemes and projects will fit the existing business and any future plans.
The scheme is open to 60 participants which will allow us to offer £1000 worth of business support to farmers, free of charge. The process will involve detailed meetings on site to establish data, investigate existing agreements and discussions as to the future expectations of the business. Findings will be outlined in a Business Support and Resilience Audit report that can be used to deliver direct benefits to the farm business.
NWA Professional have a number of introductory meetings being held at our bases at Junction 36 Rural Auction Centre and Lancaster Auction Mart. We’re combining these with other professional bodies to give farmers and landowners a comprehensive overview of the help available to them throughout this transitional period. For more information and to sign up, see our dedicated page.