Free workshops to help farmers and landowners plan for changes to grant payments are currently running throughout the region.
These information workshops are being provided as part of the Future Farming Resilience programme, which has expanded this year with an additional £2.6 million of funding support from Defra.
Titled “Navigating the Agricultural Transition”, the sessions provide a comprehensive overview of the coming changes and the options available as the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments are gradually reduced before they cease in 2027.
The upcoming workshops will be held at:
The Aggi in Braunton from 7pm-9:30pm on Thursday 1 December;
Great Bow Wharf in Langport, Somerset, from 10am-12noon on Thursday 1 December;
Best Western Hotel in Tiverton from 7pm-9:30pm on Tuesday 6 December;
Bishops Caundle Village Hall in Dorset from 7:30pm-9:30pm on Wednesday 14 December.
Other dates and venues for Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will be available soon.
Those who attend the workshops and want to explore the impact of the changes on their business in greater depth also have the opportunity to take up the offer of one-to-one business support with experienced advisors.
For farmers considering diversifying there will also be a workshop on digital skills called “Starting Out – Digital for Diversification”. This session will be held at Trowers & Hamlins LLP in Exeter from 10am-1pm on Thursday 1 December.
Among those to have benefited from the Future Farming Resilience programme is South Devon farmer Hannah Reddaway and her family.
Hannah said: “The initial information workshop was helpful because it made us think more seriously about the future and helped us start planning for that. We also had one-to-one support where an advisor came onto the farm and went through what my parents, my brother and I plan to do in the future which helped us work out how we can achieve that.
“I’ve started selling meat directly to the public. It’s something I would have considered doing at some point but going to the workshops made me think about doing it sooner. It’s good to start making those diversifications and changes as soon as you can so that as the BPS payments are reduced over the years, you’re building up something to counteract that.”
Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery and Skills, said:
“We’ve got to help the farming community transition across to the new funding available and introduce them to the new skills that will be necessary for the future of farming. This programme can help farmers and landowners prepare for that. Family businesses and farms end up doing everything themselves – they have to be so multi-skilled to handle all situations and this is another one of those.”
The Future Farming Resilience initiative was initially piloted in 2020 in response to the reductions of EU funded Direct Payments which will stop altogether in 2027.
The support offered through the project is free to any farmer or landowner receiving Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments. Farmers will be helped to take advantage of business opportunities, improve the environment, and reduce carbon emissions.
We’re leading the project, with Business Information Point (BIP) leading delivery, supported by several local advisors through various organisations. The County Council is also working closely with Local Enterprise Partnerships, other Local Authorities, The National Farmers Union (NFU), Colleges, Trading Standards Teams, and local Growth Hubs to support the farming community.
For more information visit our Future Farming Resilience webpages and the BIP website.