In a critical update, the Rt. Honourable Steve Barclay, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, shares insights into the post-Brexit agricultural landscape in England. This Ministerial Update highlights progress since the 2020 Agricultural Transition Plan, focusing on plans and priorities for the next phase.
Progressing Towards a Thriving Farming Sector
With the departure from the EU, England is reshaping its agricultural policies. The central focus is on supporting farmer-led innovation, enhancing agricultural productivity, and reducing reliance on seasonal labour. The region is equipped with world-leading research capabilities and a vibrant agri-tech sector, providing fertile ground for collaboration between local farmers and technology companies. Funding support will be extended to facilitate investments in new technology, equipment, and infrastructure, streamlining the transition for farmers.
Scaling Environmental Initiatives
Universal adoption of farming regulatory standards and increased participation in environmental land management actions are paramount to achieving ambitious 2028 targets. By early 2024, the aim is to have 39,000 farmers engaged in environmental schemes. Incentives include fair payment rates, regular updates, and a notable 10% increase in scheme prices. Flexibility in schemes, particularly for upland farms, tenant farmers, and smaller farms, is emphasised to ensure comprehensive support.
Encouraging More Ambitious Action
Beyond meeting regulatory requirements, the plan is to encourage more ambitious and targeted actions. Approximately 50 new actions will be introduced, supporting farmers and land managers across diverse targets. This includes a recognition of the significance of moorland habitats. The expansion of Higher Tier type agreements and Landscape Recovery, with increased prices and premiums, aims to drive widespread uptake. Better advice and funding for free business advice, vet visits, and access to tools like carbon audits will equip farmers for sustainable practices.
Private Finance and Future Support
Recognising the need for long-term financial support, conditions will be created to attract private finance for farmers. Short-term targeted infrastructure support is also outlined, ensuring a seamless transition for businesses. This Ministerial Update underscores the commitment to supporting the agricultural industry, fostering innovation, and ensuring a sustainable future.
How Business Lincolnshire can help
From automation to sustainability, our Agricultural and Horticultural Adviser, Paul Ward can help businesses in a range of areas, including going digital, plant health guidance, automation, environment and sustainability and much more. Paul is also able to link businesses to wider support available such as through the Food Enterprise Zones and Agri-Tech launchpad, and with National support such as schemes offered by DEFRA.
In addition, the Business Lincolnshire website contains a whole host of useful self-help information from advice on funding and support, to useful online tools and other sources of assistance within the Agriculture and Horticulture Industry Support pages.