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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Support and Funding

Find funding for land or farms with the new Gov.uk search engine

A new search engine has been launched by Gov.uk which will allow you to find out about grants and funding for farmers and land managers in England.   Further grants and funding will be added to the site as the tool is developed.  So far, there are 101 grants available.  You can search by keyword, action name or code if you know it and use the filters to search by land types or areas of interest.  Feedback is requested to enable Gov.uk improve the tool.  Access the search engine on this page.  

Expanded SFI offer on its way in July

The expanded Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) offer will be open to new entrants for the first time and will initially comprise 102 actions, designed in collaboration with the agricultural sector, including over 20 new options to support more sustainable food production, – with payments for precision farming, agroforestry and more actions for tenants on short-term contracts. The new actions will help farmers to reduce input costs and boost yields.    In addition, further new actions will support flood preparedness, helping businesses to become more resilient to the changing climate and challenging weather conditions.      More than 50 simplified actions from Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier will be merged into SFI to streamline the application process for farmers.  Read more on this page

New grant for laying hen housing is coming in June

In June, a new grant for hen housing will be available to laying hen and pullet farmers in England with flocks of 1,000 birds or more.    Grants are available for 2 types of project:

1. Building a new veranda  
Grant available: Between £5,000 and £100,000 toward the cost of installing a new veranda on an existing building.

2.  Updating housing stock
Grant available: between £15,000 and £500,000 toward the cost of refurbishing or replacing existing laying hen and pullet housing. 

Read more about the grants on this Defra blog post.

Wet weather and agri-environment agreements

Defra has introduced temporary adjustments and easements within the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI), the SFI Pilot, Countryside Stewardship (CS) and Environmental Stewardship (ES) to support farmers and land managers dealing with the impacts of severe weather in England.   Essentially, if bad weather has caused disruptions to your farming activities or affected your ability to meet the mandatory requirements set out in your agreements, the adjustments allow more time to establish or defer some activity to later in the year.   They cover the period from 1 October 2023 to 31 July 2024 for agreements that are now live.   The adjustments will automatically apply – you don’t need to submit a request.    Read more on this page.

Funding available for nutrient management solutions

Through the £15 million Nutrient Management competition, part of the Farming Innovation Programme, Defra is offering funding to develop solutions which address the challenges related to nutrient management in soils and water associated with agricultural livestock and crop production. There are 2 strands to the funding:

  1. Feasibility Studies – projects will be up to 24 months with total costs between £200,000 and £500,000.  
  2. Industrial Research – projects will be between 24 and 36 months with total costs between £500,000 and £1 million. 

The competition opens on 29 May and closes on 24 July.  Read more about the possible projects which could be funded on this page.  

Government announces new financial support for farmers (14 May)

A new package of measures to support farmers and grow the UK’s farming and food sector has been announced by the government today (Tuesday 14 May).  The package, unveiled at the Farm to Fork Summit hosted by the Prime Minister at Downing Street today, will support domestic food production and boost innovation in the sector.  Support includes:

  • Ensuring the sector has access to affordable and sustainable energy and water
  • Cutting planning red tape to make it easier and quicker to build glasshouses
  • New investment to boost innovation in the sector, where Defra will look to double to £80 million the amount of funding given to horticulture businesses when compared to the EU legacy Fruit and Vegetable Aid Scheme.

The Summit also saw publication of the first draft Food Security Index, setting out key data and trends to allow government and industry to safeguard the UK’s food security. This will allow us to monitor short-term trends across the UK.  In addition, the Government has set out how it will provide further support for farmers affected by the wet weather.   Read more here.

Read about the uptake so far for the Sustainable Farming Incentive

On 1 April 2024, there were 13,900 live SFI 2023 agreements, held by 13,400 farmers and land managers, and representing over 2 million hectares (ha) of land in England. To date, Defra has received over 20,000 applications to the SFI.  The SFI contains some management actions and some planning actions. 83% of farms in the SFI have at least one of the planning actions (actions IPM1, MOR1, NUM1 or SAM1). Among the management actions, the most popular are: 

  • No use of insecticide, nematicide or acaricide on arable crops and permanent crops (IPM4) – 430,000ha 
  • Establish and maintain herbal leys (SAM3) – 175,000ha 
  • Multi-species winter cover crops (SAM2) – 124,000ha 

There are 55,200,000 metres of hedgerows managed in agreements (action HRW2). However, not all metres of hedgerow in the action include both sides of the hedge. To estimate total hedgerows (both sides equivalent) in the scheme we adjust based on historic data from CS. This gives the estimate that there are currently 34,000km of total hedgerows under SFI management.    Read all the statistics for the Sustainable Farming Incentive on this page.

Grants available for landlords and businesses to install EV charging points

The Office of Zero Emission Vehicles is offering grants to support the installation of electric vehicle charge points.   These include:

  • Electric vehicle infrastructure grants for staff and fleets. You can receive up to £350 per charge point socket installed and up to £500 per parking space enabled with supporting infrastructure.
  • Electric vehicle charge point and infrastructure grants for landlords. You can receive 75% off the cost to buy and install a socket, up to a maximum of £350 per socket.
  • Electric vehicle charge point grant for renters and flat owners. You can receive 75% off the cost to buy and install a socket, up to a maximum of £350.
  • Electric Vehicle charge point grant for households with on-street parking. You can receive 75% off the cost to buy and install a socket, up to a maximum of £350.

The closing date for all grants is 31 March 2025.  Read more here.

Deakin and Coombe Memorial Trust opens for applications

The Deakin and Combe Memorial Trust invites applications for assistance with the cost of further/higher education from:

  • Those who are studying or about to study an agriculture related course in the academic year 2024/25.
  • Applicants whose parent(s)/guardian(s) and/or grandparent(s) have made a contribution towards agriculture in England or Wales.
  • Previously successful applicants who have provided their report on how their grant was used.

Applications are now open. The closing date for applications is Monday 2 September 2024. Grants to successful applicants will be sent out by the end of October 2024.  Download an application form.   Alternatively, you can call 07917 908553 or email rachel.harper@nfu.org.uk to request an application form.

Sign up to the Defra Pathfinder e-news for animal health and welfare grant updates

2024 is going to see a significant expansion of the Pathway offer to livestock keepers in England. For the first time Government is providing financial support directly to keepers to help them continually improve the health, welfare and productivity of their animals.   Defra has just released a new e-news which will update farmers on the latest grant offers for livestock.   To sign up to receive the e-news:

  1. Visit – this page  
  2. Provide the basic details requested on the form.
  3. Tick the ‘Animal Health and Welfare’ box.
  4. Tick any other boxes that sound interesting to you.

 

60 day limit introduced for completing an SFI application

The SFI handbook was updated in April 2024 to introduce a 60-day time limit to submit SFI applications. If this timeline is exceeded, you will need to restart your application.  Read the handbook on this page.

Farming in Protected Landscapes programme for the Cotswolds is extended to 2025

The application window for this grant is open now and remains open until all funds have been allocated. The programme has now been extended until 2025 and been allocated an additional £2 million.  Grants are for one-off projects that haven’t started yet and will be completed by 2025.  Grants are available for projects that:

  • support nature recovery
  • mitigate the impacts of climate change
  • provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and its cultural heritage
  • protect or improve the quality and character of the landscape or place

Grants can cover capital and revenue costs, up to 100% in exceptional cases. The level of funding offered depends on how much commercial gain a project may provide, in addition to delivering outcomes for climate, nature, people and place.   Read more on this page.  

RPA announces Grants for Storm Henk waterlogging

Eligible farmers in England who suffered uninsurable damage to their land during Storm Henk will be contacted by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) about a grant to help cover the costs of returning the land to the condition it was in before it flooded.  The Farming Recovery Fund supports the cost of reinstating agricultural land which flooded between 2 and 12 January 2024.   The payment will be £130 per hectare and the RPA will indicate how many hectares of your land are eligible.  The minimum grant available is £500 and the maximum grant available is £25,000.  If the RPA writes to you, you are eligible.   Read more on this Defra blog post.

Water Restoration Grant is now open

The Water Restoration Fund (WRF) has 2 types of grants, development and delivery awards, to fund projects that restore and improve water and wetland environments such as rivers and their headwaters, canals, lakes and ponds.  The development awards are between £75K and £250K and the delivery awards are between £500K and £2 million.    The £11 million available is made up of water company fines.  Defra is encouraging local groups and farm clusters to work together and consider applying for funding to deliver projects at the catchment scale.   Projects will be encouraged to restore and protect habitats using nature-based solutions, improve community access to blue and green spaces, ranging from re-meandering rivers and restoring water-dependent habitats to removing barriers to enable fish natural movement in rivers.   The closing date for applications is 7 June 2024.  Read more on this Defra blog post.

Defra limits amount of land which can be taken out of production under SFI

New measures limiting the amount of land farmers can take out of productive actions under the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) have been announced today (Monday 25 March).  The changes will ensure the scheme continues to support farmers to produce food sustainably alongside improving the environment.   Under the changes, SFI applicants will only be able to put 25% of their land into six SFI actions that take land out of direct food production. The actions are:

  • Flower-rich grass margins
  • Pollen and nectar flower mix
  • Winter bird food on arable and horticultural land
  • Grassy field corners and blocks
  • Improved grassland field corners or blocks out of management
  • Winter bird food on improved grassland.

Read more on this Defra blog post.

Defra summarise all the grants available in 2024

The latest Defra blog post has summarised all of the grants available to farmers and landowners in 2024.  For the definitive, up-to-date list of all farming payments and guidance in England, bookmark Funding for Farmers and Land Managers.  . The page contains both Defra grants and their ongoing payments. It also includes Countryside Stewardship https://www.gov.uk/guidance/funding-for-farmersgrants and it is updated regularly. 

Read the blog post on this page.  

Read how to make your application to SFI as straightforward as possible

When you apply for the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Defra want your experience to be smooth and as flexible as possible.  They have therefore written this blog post about what they’re doing to make the process of applying as straightforward as it can be, and the steps that you can take to prepare for your application.  You can read the blog post on this page.  

Read the guidance for applying to the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund

The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF) 2024 includes 3 grants to help you buy equipment or technology to:

  • improve productivity
  • manage slurry
  • improve animal health and welfare

Applications to the fund will open shortly.  In the meantime, you can read all the guidance on how to apply to the fund on this page.  

NFU Mutual Bursaries open to post-grad agricultural students in 2024

The annual award provides bursaries to pay up to 75% of course fees for selected students who are undertaking a postgraduate course in agriculture (Masters or PhD) within the UK.    The award is open to individuals who have gained, or are expected to gain, a 2:1 or above in agriculture or a related degree, and have been accepted or provisionally accepted on a Masters or PhD course in agriculture in the UK, during the 2024/2025 academic year.  There are four topics of interest for eligible students. At least one of these areas must form part of the applicant’s postgraduate course:

  • The application of science and innovative technologies to enhance productivity, efficiency, and profitability for UK farming businesses
  • Building resilience and safeguarding the physical and mental wellbeing of those living and working in the UK agricultural industry
  • Tackling the risks of climate change, whilst maintaining food security, to improve the sustainability of UK agriculture
  • Identifying opportunities for supporting nature and biodiversity in the development of farming and land management practices in the UK.

Closing date for applications is 30 June 2024.  Please visit this page for full information.

All the guidance on de-linked payments

The Rural Payments Agency is replacing the BPS in England with delinked payments from 2024. The RPA will pay delinked payments annually between 2024 to 2027 and the amount paid will decrease each year, with 2027 being the final year of delinked payments.  To receive delinked payments, you must be eligible for BPS payments in 2023 (with some exceptions on inherited land) and have a reference amount.     The reference amount will normally be the average BPS payment in the reference period, which is the BPS 2020 to 2022 scheme years. If you did claim in 2023, but did not claim BPS in the reference period, you will only have a reference amount if BPS reference data has been transferred to you.

The RPA has started writing to farmers about the transition from BPS payments to de-linked payments.  To read all the guidance on how de-linked payments are calculated, how they affect different types of businesses and how they are treated for tax purposes. please visit this page.

Watch how to apply for an SFI agreement

Defra has produced a video showing farmers how to apply for an SFI agreement.  Visit this page on YouTube to watch the video.

Defra set up a new single page for the Sustainable Farming Incentive

A new landing page on the Defra website has been created for farmers who are thinking of or will be applying to the Sustainable Farming Incentive.   The page lets you register your interest in SFI, sets out why farmers should apply for an agreement, lists the 23 actions you can apply for, gives feedback from farmers and signposts farmers to other grant funding available.  Visit the page on this link.  

Most farmers are no longer required to register their interest in the scheme and can now apply directly. All farmers who have a live 2023 agreement before the end of the year will receive an early payment. This is worth 25% of the value of their annual agreement and will be received in the first month of the agreement.

 

Fully funded training courses in forestry and arboriculture now available

The newly expanded Forestry and Arboriculture Training Fund is now open for applications. Funding covers training costs for short, practical forestry and arboriculture courses. The fund is designed for people seeking to build skills or those considering a change of career into these sectors. Forestry Commission is offering to cover 100% of the costs for eligible training courses, meaning these are free for applicants. Funding will be paid directly to the training provider. Applicants should note that expenses, such as travel are not covered. Funding will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.  Visit this page to read all about the fund together with the list of eligible courses and training providers.

Updated Defra leaflet explaining the Sustainable Farming Incentive payments available

Defra has updated their Sustainable Farming Incentive leaflet which sets out the key features of the scheme, who is eligible to apply and how to apply.  In addition there is a list of the SFI actions and annual payments available.   You can download the leaflet below.

A leaflet on the payments available to arable and horticulture farmers is also available below.  These include Countryside Stewardship, SFI and Landscape Recovery grants.

SFI leaflet update_230725

Arable and horticultural Leaflet

 

 

 

 

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Rural Hub

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E: info@ruralhub.org.uk

Tel: 07780 159291

 

Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors

Karen Ellis (Chair)
Amy Brant
Rosemary Collier
Emlyn Evans
Ian Jelley
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Tony Beysens
Meehal Grint, Kings Seeds
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Louis Phipps, Bragborough Estate
Zoe Burrows, Rookery Farm

 

 

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