Grants offer alternative to Basic Payment Scheme for farmers

William Hargreaves of Savills, Ipswich

William Hargreaves from Savills explores some of the new funding options available for farmers and landowners - Credit: RMG Photography

With the first Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments starting to be phased out, many farmers and landowners will be looking for alternative sources of income.

The good news is there are plenty of new grants available to help boost cashflow – offering support for everything from capital projects and countryside stewardship through to initiatives that promote water management, productivity, innovation and technology. 

Future Farming Resilience Fund

Designed to support farmers and growers in identifying how, where and when they may need to adapt their business model, this fund provides a free half-day business consultation with a rural adviser of your choice – including Savills.

The one-to-one support will address changes and challenges within the agricultural sector to help create a more resilient, competitive, innovative and productive business. More details can be found at ahdb.org.uk/farm-business-review

Farming Transformation Fund

Although the deadline for some funding has passed, support is still accessible under the Improving Farm Productivity scheme.

Grants of between £35,000 and £500,000 are available to cover 40% of the cost of capital projects to improve productivity. This includes:

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  • the use of robotic or autonomous equipment and systems to aid crop and livestock production 
  • the installation of slurry acidification equipment (to improve nutrient management and reduce ammonia emissions).

Visit the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) website for details.

Lump Sum Exit Scheme

Although this has currently been met with little enthusiasm, the aim is to help those who wish to retire or leave the industry to do so in a managed way – freeing up land for new entrants and existing farmers who want to expand.

The lump sum will be equivalent to what would have been received through BPS payments over the next five years, set to a maximum of £100,000. More details are expected later this year but any decision is likely to require careful consideration, particularly around tax issues.

England Woodland Creation Offer

Landowners, land managers and public bodies can apply to the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) for support to create new woodland on areas as small as one hectare.

Grant payments will cover 100% of the costs for the capital items and activities needed to establish new woodland, while funds of up to £10,000 per hectare are available to cover initial planting and management.

The grant also allows for the woodland to be used for woodland carbon units. Applications can be made via the local woodland creation officer and the Forestry Commission website.

Slurry Investment Scheme

Set to launch later this year, the aim is to help reduce pollution from farming and contribute to the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and Net Zero commitments.

It’s not yet known how much farmers will be able to claim, but the money will be available for those who want to invest in new slurry stores that exceed current regulatory requirements.

For advice on the rural sector in Suffolk contact William Hargreaves at Savills on 01473 234802 or WHargreaves@savills.com