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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Support and Funding

Learn how to manage and maintain your woodlands

Forestry Commission has published some new information on woodland management in England, including funding to maintain your woodland, useful guidance, and the regulations you’ll need to follow.  Visit this page to read the advice.

More information on the Sustainable Farming Incentive is released (2 Dec)

Defra has released some further information on the Sustainable Farming Incentive, including the rules of the scheme, setting out who is eligible and how the scheme will work in practice.  In the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot, parcels that were already covered by Countryside Stewardship could not be accommodated.   For the main Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme from 2022, farmers will be allowed to have a Sustainable Farming Incentive agreement on the same parcel as a Countryside Stewardship agreement, as long as the same action is not being funded twice, and so long as the actions are compatible.  Defra is currently working up the detailed guidance to accompany the standards published today, to be released in due course.

Read full details of the scheme known so far, here.  

Complete your free farming business legal health check with Shakespeare Martineau

Rural Hub Business Supporter, legal firm Shakespeare Martineau is offering farming businesses a free legal health check.  The interactive, online questionnaire, which should take users no longer than 20 minutes to complete, aims to identify and highlight any potential issues and legal gaps that may need addressing to safeguard a farming business’ future – providing certainty and security for forthcoming generations.  This includes family arrangements – partnership issues, wills, family agreements and potential disputes – and diversification, supplier contracts, renewable energy schemes (for example solar), and business aspirations.     To complete your legal health check visit this page.  

Read how Countryside Stewardship could be an attractive option post-BPS

Countryside Stewardship is a scheme that helps to protect and enhance our countryside.  2023 will be the final year you can apply for agreements (to start in 2024) which will run for 5 years.  Defra has amended some aspects of Countryside Stewardship to make it a more attractive option for more farmers as they plan for the impact of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) reductions and their subsequent removal  Visit this page to read about the changes to the scheme.

The Farming Investment Fund is launched (16 November)

The Farming Investment Fund was launched on 16 November 2021.  This £27 million fund provides grants to farmers, growers, and foresters (including related contractors) so that they can invest in the things they need to improve productivity and enhance the natural environment.  This includes new equipment, technology, and infrastructure.   The Farming Investment Fund is made up of 2 parts: 

  • The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund – the new way for Defra to provide small productivity grants to farmers.   The fund provides grants of between £2000 and £25,000 and closes on 7 January 2022.
  • The Farming Transformation Fund – so far the Water Management theme has been announced. This theme is dedicated to arable and horticultural businesses growing, or intending to grow, irrigated food crops, ornamentals or forestry nurseries.   There is an online checker to determine on the likelihood of an application being accepted on this page.  Grants of between £35,000 and £500,000 will be available.   The fund will be open until 12 January 2022, with the deadline to complete full applications by 30 June 2022.

Read more about the two funds on this page.

RPA confirms the Basic Payments Rates for 2021

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has today (28 October) published the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) entitlement rates.

The non Severely Disadvantaged Area entitlement rate is £233.30.

From this year, Direct Payments in England will be gradually phased out, and a seven-year transition will provide farmers with the time to adapt to the changes.   Read more on this page.  

Launch of Farming Innovation Programme

A new long-term funding programme to support farmers, growers, foresters and other businesses to embrace innovative new ways to maximise productivity and drive sustainability opened for applications on 20 October 2021.

The Farming Innovation programme will support ambitious projects to transform productivity and enhance environmental sustainability in England’s agricultural and horticultural sectors, whilst driving the sectors towards net zero.  Defra has made £17.5 million available for the first round of the three funds which make up the Programme. The first fund to open is the ‘Industry-led R&D Partnerships Fund’, where farmers, growers, foresters and businesses can bid for funding to develop new technologies and practices that will help them overcome challenges and exploit new opportunities in the sector such as the use of artificial intelligence and low-emission machineries to optimise the production process, and the development of climate-resilient crops.

Do you want to understand the policy changes that will affect the future of your farm business?

The Prince’s Countryside Fund is inviting farm businesses to join their new Farm for the Future programme, which is being delivered virtually to farmers in Warwickshire.  The programme will help farms to better understand how the Agricultural Transition Plan will affect the future of their business. Farm for the Future will provide business support so farmers can manage the upcoming changes and make informed decisions about their future and discover opportunities with the ELM schemes that may financially and practically benefit the farm.  Any owner-occupied or tenant farm currently in receipt of BPS in England can take part and the programme is free of charge.  For more information and to express interest in taking part please visit Defra Future Farming – The Prince’s Countryside Fund (princescountrysidefund.org.uk)

Project Warwickshire launches to help tourism, leisure and hospitality businesses

A contract to help the county’s small businesses in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors bounce back from the Covid pandemic has been awarded to Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.  The contract will enable the Chamber to implement a wide range of support through to April 2024 to boost the sector and help small businesses take advantage of a potential rise in home vacations.  Project Warwickshire will provide a package of help across the sector, including 1:1 advice, networking and a range of masterclasses. The project will support businesses to seek and access grants and funding, as well as co-ordinating a series of networking events and webinars to share good practice and links.  For further information, please email the Chamber on chamberbusinessprograms@cw-chamber.co.uk or call 02476 654321

Forestry Commission launch Woodlands for Water grant offer

Woodlands for Water is a project to support landowners and farmers to plant trees along riverbanks and water courses, with the aim of  creating 3,150 hectares of trees in six river catchment areas from Devon to Cumbria by March 2025. The new plantings will improve water quality, manage flood risk and boost biodiversity. Farmers and landowners will be able to apply for funding through the England Woodland Creation Offer grant scheme.  There are 242,262km of watercourses in England, and it is hoped that by planting trees in this way they will contribute to a natural network of habitats across the country as part of our plans to expand, improve and connect these places across our towns, cities and countryside.

How could payments to livestock farmers change after 2022?

Fluid is probably the best way to describe English Agricultural Policy at the moment. In fact it needs to be, as the emphasis is very much on trialling, testing and responding to feedback on the new agri-environment schemes that will be the bedrock going forward. As a result, the analysis
provided in this report by the Agricultural and Horticulture Development Board is based on current available information and as there are still many unknowns, therefore assumptions have been made. Nevertheless, there are still key messages that can be gleaned so  that farmers can prepare for what lies ahead.  Read the full report here.

Amendments to ES Agreements in order to apply to the England Woodland Creation Offer

Land managers can now transfer land from an Environmental Stewardship (ES) agreement into the England Woodland Creation offer (EWCO) without the recovery of ES payments, subject to certain conditions.  The conditions are:

  1. The transfer of land into EWCO will result in a net improvement in environmental management on that land, compared to management under the existing ES agreement; and
  2. The ES agreement remains viable after transfer of the land and removal from the ES agreement.

If you now wish to apply for EWCO on land in an ES agreement please submit a EWCO application, completing the forms and following the online guidance

Forestry Commission will be contacting those customers directly impacted by this change.  For enquiries relating to EWCO or the process outlined above, please contact  EWCOenquiries@forestrycommission.gov.uk. For enquiries relating to conditions (a) and (b), or the process of removing land from an ES agreement, please contact ruralpayments@defra.gov.uk

New Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund to open in December

A sixth round of the popular Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund will open in December 2021.  The £2.5 million fund encourages collaboration and knowledge-sharing amongst the farming community. To apply, groups must submit plans showing how they will work together and share knowledge to protect and enhance their local environment, in line with their local Countryside Stewardship priorities.  Successful facilitation groups will also offer invaluable training, support and advice to potential applicants for agri-environment schemes.  This year’s fund includes support for new environmental priorities such as the improvement of air quality through slurry removal, reduction of ammonia emissions, tree planting and shelters,

Keep up to speed with the agricultural transition with the Future Farming Advice team

The Future Farming Advice team is responsible for making sure that people have the advice they need to support them through the agricultural transition and beyond.  You can keep up to date with news, advice and guidance by visiting this page.  

STEPS funding for farmers in priority catchments

The Severn Trent Environmental Protection Scheme grants offer farmers financial and technical support to invest in tailored solutions to help tackle diffuse water pollution and to protect and maintain biodiversity and the natural environment.  To be eligible for support from STEPS, you must:

Severn Trent will match-fund up to £10,000 per application.  If you have any questions about your eligibility or your catchment area, you should contact your local agricultural advisor who will be able to advise you.  Applications close on 31 January 2022.

Funding for farmers in protected landscapes

The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is a part of Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan. It will offer funding to farmers and land managers in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (such as the Cotswolds AONB), National Parks and the Broads. It is not an agri-environment scheme.  The programme will fund 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
  • support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses

The programme is also open to farmers and land managers on land outside of protected landscapes. To be eligible the projects must benefit the protected landscape, or the protected landscape body’s objectives or partnership initiatives.   The fund will open for applications on 1 July 2021 and you should apply before 31 January 2022 for funding in the first year of the programme.  Visit this page for full information.

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.  

Access funding to recover from the pandemic

The Recovery Loan Scheme is to help businesses of any size access loans and other kinds of finance so they can recover after the pandemic and transition period  Up to £10 million is available per business. The actual amount offered and the terms are at the discretion of participating lenders.   The borrower is 100% liable for the debt.  The scheme is open until 31 December 2021, subject to review.   Businesses need to confirm that they would be viable were it not for the pandemic and they have been adversely impacted by the pandemic.  Visit this page for full information.  

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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The Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC
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Warwickshire, CV8 1PR

Email: info@ruralhub.org.uk
Tel: 07780 159291

Company Registration No: 7026157
Registered office: 23 West Bar Street, Banbury, OX16 9SA

 

 

Rural Hub

Co-ordinator

Jane Hampson
E: info@ruralhub.org.uk

Tel: 07780 159291

 

 

 

 

Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors

Henry Lucas (Chair)
Rosemary Collier
Amy Brant
Karen Ellis
Marion Perrett Pearson
Carrie Robbins
Alexandra Robinson

 

 

 

Hub Steering Group Members

George Bostock, NFU
Andrew Cook, Farmer
Mark Dickin, Ellacotts Accountants
Emlyn Evans, Squab Hall
Marcus Faulkner, Sheldon Bosley Knight
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
Alexandra Robinson, Wright Hassall LLP

 

 

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