The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched initiatives that will incentivise farmers to adopt sustainable farming practices.
As part of the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, Defra launched three Environmental Land Management schemes at the beginning of 2021. These include the Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme, the Local Nature Recovery scheme, and the Landscape Recovery scheme. Under these schemes, farmers are being given the opportunity to be paid to deliver environmental improvements such as reduction of and adaptation to climate change, protection from environmental hazards, and clean and plentiful water.
Under the Sustainable Farming Incentive, farmers can receive money to manage their land in an environmentally sustainable way . The scheme is being piloted this year and will be launched in 2022.
The agricultural transition period started at the beginning of 2021. It is a scheme that’s designed to gradually reduce and end the Direct Payments farmers were receiving from the EU. Instead, as set out in The Path to Sustainable Farming, funding will be used to incentivise farmers to “improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare, and reduce carbon emissions”.
The plans set out the government’s ambitions for clean and plentiful water and for reducing the risk of harm from flooding and drought. There will be capital grants of up to £20,000 to help farmers deliver a range of environmental improvements including water efficiency, tree planting and woodland management, hedgerow management, nutrient management and pest management, all of which will help to improve water quality and quantity.
Castle Water were recently announced as a winner of Ofwat’s inaugural Water Breakthrough Challenge. Working with RWE, Bristol Water and Binnie’s, our innovative pilot scheme aims to provide more flexible local water supplies, improve drought resilience, and incentivise business customers to save water. Read the full story here.
In his foreword to the report, the Rt. Hon. George Eustice, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, said that intensification of farming has taken its toll on wildlife. He explained that the Agricultural Transition Plan “will focus on building back nature into and beyond our farmed landscape”. He hopes there can be a fusion of traditional agricultural practices with modern plant science and precision technology to help farmers deliver for nature.
Farming Transformation Fund
Under the Farming Transformation Fund, grants are available for large-scale water improvement schemes, including water storage management such as on-farm reservoirs. Funding is also available for the technology to provide variable-rate nutrient or pesticide application which will improve water quality.
To find out more about the government’s plans for the future of farming, subscribe to Defra’s Future Farming blog.
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