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The Future Farming Resilience Fund – agriculture support

The Future Farming Resilience Fund – agriculture support

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

The Future Farming Resilience Fund was set up by the Government and launched earlier this year to support the transition within agriculture. There are three phases included, however, it’s the current interim phase, which began in August 2021 and runs until spring 2022, that farmers and landowners must be aware of.

To qualify for the funding during the interim phase, farmers and landowners must currently be in receipt of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments. A key point to consider is that this is fully government funded, and it’s free of charge.

The £10.7m fund is being delivered in different ways, with many providers offering a tailored approach including farm visits and detailed financial and professional advice individual to each business.

In order to put themselves forward, farmers and landowners will need to contact one of the approved firms as outlined here on the GOV.UK website. Each firm outlines their individual approach, however, these approaches may be adaptable subject to your business requirements.

The tailored approach adopted by firms will suit different farmers and landowners. As part of the participation, you would expect to receive a farm visit to enable the consultant to understand you, your business, current challenges, and what opportunities may exist. Preparation is required prior to any visit, with business owners or farm/estate managers required to produce a variety of financial, cropping and environmental data to give the advisors the clearest picture of the business. Honest data and discussions will produce the best results.

The aim of these reports is to enable advisors to review and scrutinise farming and estate business in detail to identify opportunities for change, diversification, and possible ways to adapt to produce greater output. The output improvement may be through a change of tillage options, review of machinery requirements and a reduction in horsepower to achieve the same results, or consider crop rotation changes for enhancing soil health and biodiversity. We would expect there to be a variety of recommendations personalised to your business.

For context, we know that the BPS payments begin to taper this year with the smallest and final payment in 2027. In light of this and the further challenges facing UK agriculture in 2021, the NFU is calling for a delay in the reductions to BPS for 2022 and 2023, as it does not consider the future policy for farming in the UK to be robust enough. However, the NFU is not requesting that the 2021 reduction be postponed; this will continue as planned, although many farmers and landowners would argue there has not been sufficient information provided by the Government to plan for the future.

The lack of information available for the agricultural transition was further highlighted in a report by the National Audit Office, which commented that Defra had not yet published detailed objectives or adequate incentives for farmers’ participation in the new Environmental Land Management scheme, expected to replace BPS. This resulted in a lack of uptake and the critical mass needed to achieve success for the Government’s own environmental ambitions.

All farmers and landowners should be preparing and budgeting on the basis that the BPS reductions will continue as currently proposed to 2024, with future reductions through to 2027 expected to be much steeper. The Future Farming Resilience Fund reports will be based on a reduction to no BPS by 2028.

We would encourage all farmers and landowners to get involved in the scheme to review their business and prepare for the future. Some businesses will be better prepared than others, however, this is a step in the right direction.

To end on a quote from Benjamin Franklin – “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.”

Need help?

If you wish to contact Larking Gowen for a recommendation of an advisor to approach, or for more information on any of the above, please get in touch with your usual contact. You can find contact details on the Our People section of the Larking Gowen website. Alternatively, call 0330 024 0888 or email enquiry@larking-gowen.co.uk.

Laurie Hill

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