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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Support and Funding

New packages for STEPS funding announced by Severn Trent

Severn Trent has announced some new packages of priority items for its 2022 STEPS funding.  These include up to £30,000 for pesticide washdown areas and free rainwater harvesting, soil testing for cover crop applicants in groundwater catchments and up to 75% funding for fencing in crypto catchments.  Grant rates have increased for many items and there are still a great range of options to choose from, all aimed at protecting the environment and water quality.  Within your catchment you will still find specific priority items – items that once implemented will make a fundamental difference to the health of the surrounding water environment.    You can make an application for mains STEPS funding all year round and the closing date is 31 January 2023.   To be eligible for funding you must be in a priority catchment area and be actively farming the land.  Visit this page for full information on the STEPS grant and to take a look at the map of priority catchments.

Direct payments to be paid in two instalments in July and December

The Government has today (6 May) announced further steps to support farmers with cost pressures. Under the latest plans, Direct Payments in England will be paid in two instalments each year for the remainder of the agricultural transition period, to help farmers with their cashflow.  The deadline for submitting Basic Payment Scheme 2022 applications is Monday 16 May 2022 and, under these plans, farmers with eligible applications will receive the first payment of 50% from the end of July and the second from December.  Read more here.

Lump Sum Exit Scheme opens for applications

Farmers in England who wish to leave the industry can apply for the new Lump Sum Exit Scheme as from 12 April.  This scheme will provide a payment so they can leave the sector in a managed way.  In return, farmers will be expected to either rent or sell their land or surrender their tenancy in order to create opportunities for new entrants and farmers wishing to expand their businesses.  The exit payment provided to eligible applicants will be based on the average direct payments made to the farmer for the 2019 to 2021 Basic Payment Scheme years. This reference figure will be capped at £42,500 and multiplied by 2.35 to calculate the lump sum.  Visit this page for full information on the scheme and how to apply.

The scheme is open for applications until 30 September 2022.

SFI – full guidance on the scheme and how to prepare for an application

Defra has now published full guidance on the new Sustainable Farming Incentive and how to get ready to apply for an SFI standards agreement.  The eligibility of the agreements, the payment rates, the standards and details on the health and welfare review are also available.  Please visit this page for all the up to date information.

Syngenta Operation Pollinator seed offer for 2022

Syngenta Operation Pollinator supports growers to enhance biodiversity on their farms and demonstrates that profitable intensive farming can go hand in hand with the protection of natural resources and biodiversity.   Their annual seed offer for annual wildflowers, Bees’nSeeds and green headland mixes is now open, with a 20% discount available in partnership with the CFE, ASDA and Kings.  Visit this page for full information.

Farming Innovation Programme seeks large R and D partnership projects

Defra is working with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), to invest up to £8 million in innovation projects.  This funding is part of Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme which is delivered in partnership with UKRI’s Transforming Food Production Challenge.  The aim of this competition is to:

  • drive the development and demonstration of solutions that have the potential to substantially improve overall productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability
  • help the sector mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change
  • ensure solutions deliver positive benefits for England’s farmers, growers, or foresters in commercially relevant situations
  • accelerate research development and demonstration of new agricultural solutions by driving collaboration through active engagement of end users and the wider UK research community in the innovation process
  • enable adoption by demonstrating knowledge exchange to the wider sector and other stakeholders

Your project’s total costs must be between £3 million and £5 million.  Applications closed on 29 June.  Visit this page for full information.

Sustainable Farming Incentive payment rates announced

Defra plan to launch the Sustainable Farming Incentive in June.  The standards and payment rates that will be available this year are:

  • Arable and horticultural soils standard
    • Introductory level paying £22 per hectare
    • Intermediate level paying £40 per hectare
  • Improved grassland soils standard
    • Introductory level paying £28 per hectare
    • Intermediate level paying £58 per hectare

When the scheme launches, farmers who are eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) will be eligible to apply for the Sustainable Farming Incentive.  The Sustainable Farming Incentive has been designed so that tenants on a short-term rolling tenancy can enter that land into the scheme, provided they expect to have management control of it for the duration of the agreement.  Land can be in both a Sustainable Farming Incentive agreement and Countryside Stewardship, but the actions must be compatible, and we can’t pay twice for a similar activity on the same area of land at the same time.

Read more information on how to prepare for an application to the Sustainable Farming Incentive on this page.

Read about the funding available for farmers all on one summary page

Defra and the RPA has published a summary of funding streams available to farmers, land managers, horticulturalists and foresters in England. It covers a number of potential income streams and links to more details that include:

  • Environmental land management funding
  • Trees, animal health, slurry, and protected landscape funding
  • Innovation, technology, research, and development funding
  • Funding for new entrants
  • Funding for those leaving farming.

Visit this page to read the summary.

There’s more to woodland than meets the eye

Woodland can provide alternative sources of farm income from timber, wood fuel and carbon credits, to recreation and tourism. This is in addition to other benefits they can provide such as protecting watercourses, shelter for animals and helping to stop flooding.   Grants are available and Forestry Commission’s England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO), offers up to £8,500 per hectare to cover the capital costs of creating the woodland. Plus, if the woodland offers environmental and social public benefits an additional payment of up to £8,000 per hectare is available. 

It also offers annual payments of £300 per year per hectare for 10 years for maintenance. Applicants can also retain Basic Payment Scheme payments and receive a contribution towards the costs of access infrastructure. 

For proposed woodland of more than five hectares, there is also a Woodland Creation Planning Grant available. 

For further information please visit this page or contact your local woodland officer Ben on ben.davidson@forestrycommission.gov.uk

 

Plan your tree planting strategy with the NFU

The government has an ambitious, long-term vision for trees and woodland in England and aims to treble tree planting rates by the end of the current parliament. The England Trees Action Plan (ETAP) provides the vision to 2050 and beyond.

The NFU tree strategy was launched in July 2021. It sets out the opportunities and barriers for the farming industry and their vision for woodland creation, hedgerow planting and management, trees in the wider landscape and agroforestry.  Visit this page to read useful information and links, as well as case studies, which will help guide members interested in tree planting to the most appropriate schemes and funding.

Read how Defra is developing grants for slurry equipment

Over the winter, Defra brought together a small group of farmers and industry representatives to help co-design a new slurry infrastructure theme, to offer under the Farming Investment Fund from Autumn 2022.   Defra is continuing to work with its co-design group on the finer details of grant design and will release further details in the spring. But you can read all about the likely first round of grant funding on this Defra blog post.  

Farming is Changing – new Defra leaflet sets out the timelines

Following our exit from the EU farming is changing and farmers and land managers will now be rewarded for doing even more to improve the environment whilst producing high quality food and other products.    Defra has produced a leaflet which sets out the changes and includes a timeline for the next few years.  Download the leaflet below.

Farming is Changing

Further information on the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway is released

Farmers are going to be encouraged to keep healthier, higher welfare animals as part of the Government’s flagship farming reforms, including fully-funded annual vet visits and grants to improve conditions for livestock.   The Animal Health and Welfare Pathway is a programme of financial support for farmers in the pig, cattle, sheep and poultry sectors, based around key animal health and welfare priorities.  Government will initially offer cattle, sheep and pig farmers who are eligible for the Basic Payment Scheme funding for an annual visit from a vet of their choice to carry out diagnostic testing, review biosecurity and responsible use of medicines, and provide advice relating to the health and welfare of their animals.  These will begin in late 2022.  The fund will also include a disease eradication and control programme allowing farmers to apply for financial support to enable them to take measures to prevent and reduce endemic diseases affecting livestock such as veterinary advice, vaccination, or improvements to on-farm management.    Read more here.

Create a fully funded legacy forest with Severn Trent

Severn Trent is supporting the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games with a pledge to leave a carbon-neutral legacy, which includes the creation of 2,022 acres of native forest across the region.    Their Legacy Forest programme will fully fund and manage tree planting for farmers and landowners offering an annual premium payment of £200 per hectare for the first 10 years, for sites over 8 hectares.   The scheme will cover all aspects of planting, planning, management, and 35 years of maintenance.  Plus, Severn Trent will take on all the carbon code paperwork, covering registration, validation, and verification of the woodland for 35 years.

To read further information on the Legacy Forest scheme please visit this page.

Defra publishes update on the Lump Sum Exit Scheme

Defra plan to offer farmers in England who wish to exit the industry the option of applying in 2022 for a lump sum payment.   It is expected that farmers will be able to apply from April 2022 until the end of September 2022.   The payment will be made once the farmer has met the scheme rules, including transferring out their agricultural land (with some exceptions).  Some guidance on lump sum payments for farmers who leave or retire from farming, and delinked payments has now been published by Defra.  They expect payments to begin to be made for some farmers from November 2022, but farmers will have a longer period if they need it to arrange their exit.   Once the farmer has received the lump sum, they won’t be able to claim further Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments or delinked payments in England.   Visit this page for the full update.  

Project Warwickshire – free business growth support for leisure, tourism and hospitality sectors

This package of support will help small businesses in the tourism, hospitality and leisure industry to not only recover, but grow and thrive post pandemic.  The support offered includes:

1:1 Business Coaching – by a team of skilled and experienced business coaches who will provide impartial, confidential support working both strategically and practically with you to achieve your objectives
Core Workshops – Covering topics such as social media, online presence, marketing, recruitment and selection to provide useful tips and practical skills you can put into action
Networking & Connectivity – join networking events in an informal setting to foster collaboration, working together within your sector and generating referrals

Visit this page for further information.

Applications open for Landscape Recovery Scheme

This scheme is an opportunity for farmers and land managers who want to focus on the most radical and ambitious large-scale, land-use change and habitat restoration, such as establishing new nature reserves, restoring floodplains, or creating woodland and wetlands.  Applications for this round of funding are open from 1 February 2022, and will close on 24 May 2022.   Example projects could include:

  • restoring the natural courses and condition of rivers and streams
  • enhancing bogs, fens or saltmarshes
  • creating a mosaic of habitats
  • creating and improving woodland

Landscape Recovery will complement the two other environmental land management schemes, providing a third option for land managers.  Visit this page for full information on how to apply to Landscape Recovery.

Plant for the future – get paid to create woodland on your land

Are you looking to diversify your business with new land uses? Why not create woodland on your marginal or unproductive land?   The new woodland creation campaign offers advice on all of the grants which are available and explains the benefits of planting woodland on farmland.  Visit this page for an update.

English Woodland Creation Offer opens for applications

With £15.9 million available in its first year, this new grant scheme supports the creation of a range of woodland types and sizes, while providing greater financial incentives for landowners and farmers to plant and manage trees. The English Woodland Creation Offer provides greater flexibility and recognition of the benefits woodland can provide for people and wildlife by offering additional incentives to ensure the right tree is planted in the right place for the right reason. The grant will cover standard capital costs for tree planting (up to a per hectare cap of £8,500) and annual maintenance payments of £200 per hectare for 10 years, as well as rewarding farmers and landowners for providing public and wider environmental benefits.  To read all about the scheme, find out if you are eligible and make an application, visit this page.  

Coventry and Warwickshire Innovation Programme

Supporting the development of new innovative products and technologies for SMEs, the programme provides a range of assistance including one-to-one support, networking and access to grants of up to £100,000.  Visit this page for further information.

Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme

A free service comprising one-to-one or group support targeted at new businesses, or established businesses with under 250 employees who want to grow.   Visit this page for further information.

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Rural Hub

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Jane Hampson
E: info@ruralhub.org.uk

Tel: 07780 159291

 

 

 

 

Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors

Karen Ellis (Chair)
Amy Brant
Rosemary Collier
Emlyn Evans
Ian Jelley
Henry Lucas
Marion Perrett Pearson
Alexandra Robinson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Environmental Steering Group Members

Zoe Bell (Chair)
Tony Beysens
Meehal Grint, Kings Seeds
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
David Ruddock, Middlemarch Environmental
Jon Slee, Abbey Farm

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