Roadmap to Sustainable Farming

Chris Powell
By Chris Powell

November 2020

The government announced today its plan to deliver a better and fairer farming system in England over the next 7 years.

Roadmap to Sustainable Farming

The document is the plan to deliver a better and fairer farming system in England while allowing farmers and landowners to adapt and plan for the future over the next 7 years.

The changes are designed to ensure that by 2028, farmers in England can sustainably produce healthy food profitably without subsidy, whilst taking steps to improve animal health, environment and reduce carbon emissions.

The ‘Path to Sustainable Farming’ document, published today, sets out more detail on the changes to be made, and what they will mean for farmers. Chris Powell, Rural Partner at our Devizes office summarises the key points: 

  • Introducing the Environmental Land Management scheme to incentivise sustainable farming practices, create habitats for nature recovery and establish new woodland to help tackle climate change.
  • Investing in improving animal health and welfare as part of our sustainable farming approach. This will initially focus on controlling or eradicating endemic diseases amongst cattle, pigs and sheep.
  • Direct Payments will be reduced fairly, starting from the 2021 Basic Payment Scheme year, with the money released being used to fund new grants and schemes to boost farmers’ productivity and reward environmental improvements.
  • Launching a Farming Investment Fund, which will support innovation and productivity. This will open for applications next year and will be used to offer grants for equipment, technology and infrastructure for the future.
  • Simplifying and improving existing schemes and their application processes further from January 2021 to reduce the burden on farmers, and taking a modern approach to regulation, cutting unnecessary red tape for farmers and working together with industry to design a more targeted regulatory system.
  • In regard to Direct Payments these will be reduced over the next four years with final reductions being made up to 2027. What this means is most farming businesses will see significant reductions over the next fours years and should take advice on maximising the amount of subsidy they can receive over the next four years.

For individuals who will be the most affected by these reductions a farming resilience programme will be made available throughout the first 3 years of reductions.

The Environmental Land Management will consist of three components/tiers:

1.       The Sustainable Farming Incentive, which will support approaches to farm husbandry that deliver for the environment, such as actions to improve soil health, hedgerows, and integrated pest management,

2.       Local Nature Recovery, which will pay for actions such as creating, managing, or restoring habitats, natural flood management and species management,

3.       Landscape Recovery, which will focus on landscape and ecosystem recovery through projects looking to achieve large-scale forest and woodland creation, peatland restoration, or the creation and restoration of coastal habitats, such as wetlands and salt marsh.

Productivity will also form part of the new regime with new schemes being introduced to help farmers become more productive.  This will include the new Farming Investment Fund which is planning on opening in 2021. This will target funding to support businesses invest in equipment, technology and infrastructure that will improve efficiencies on farm. This will be delivered through 2 levels small grants to help purchase specific equipment and large grants to assist with the cost of substantial investment with potential to transform business performance.

To discuss how best to maximise your claims for the future of your farming business, contact Symonds & Sampson's Rural Grants team at your local office, or Chris Powell, Rural Partner in the Devizes office on 01380 710535

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