Farmers and landowners in the region will be able to access help to adapt to changes in agricultural grants, thanks to a £2.6 million support programme.
Following the success of earlier phases of our Future Farming Resilience programme, we have received Defra funding to expand the initiative.
The project aims to boost the rural economy by helping farmers to improve their business and the environment, and having previously covered Devon and Somerset, it will now also take in Dorset, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
It was initially piloted in 2020 in response to the reductions of EU funded Direct Payments which will stop altogether in 2027. The loss of the Direct Payments will remove around £883 million of income from the four counties during the transition period to 2027.
According to DEFRA figures, 65% of South West farm businesses are at risk of closure due to low profitability and high reliance on Direct Payments, so the Future Farming Resilience programme will play a vital role in making farmers aware of the government support that will be available to replace these payments.
The tailored support offered through the project will help farmers consider their options for the future and help the region’s rural communities become more resilient to the changes ahead. Farmers will be helped to take advantage of business opportunities, improve the environment, and reduce carbon emissions.
Over 350 farm businesses have already received one-to-one business support from the earlier phases of the project. More than 740 farmers and landowners have also attended Agricultural Transition information workshops to gain a better understanding of the changes to Basic Payment schemes as well as guidance on new grants and support.
From September the programme will see farmers and their families supported through locally delivered information workshops which will offer advice about the changes to support through the Agricultural Transition period.
Those who attend the workshops and want to explore how the changes will affect their business in more detail will be offered one-to-one business support assessing the impact the reduction in Direct Payments will have on their business.
Specialist workshops will also be held on a range of topics including farming grant opportunities; how environmental schemes can help generate income, and the benefit of woodland creation for farmers.
Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery and Skills, said:
“We are thrilled that we can continue and scale-up our support to farmers and landowners during this critical period, helping them to be prepared for the changes ahead. Agriculture plays a key role in the Devon economy, supporting thousands of jobs both directly and through rural supply chains. Landowners’ guardianship of the landscape also acts as a driver for the wider tourism sector, making Devon an attractive place for people to live, work and visit.
“By securing the full amount of our bid, we are able to build on the success of the initial programme in Devon and Somerset, which exceeded its initial targets. The Future Farming Resilience programme can help farming businesses and the rural economy to be more resilient, while also benefitting our local environment and helping to tackle the climate emergency.”
We will continue to lead the project, with Business Information Point (BIP) leading delivery, supported by several local advisors through various organisations. We will also work 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 enquiries about the programme contact firstname.lastname@example.org