Business and Economy

Free advice and business skills development to help farmers during Agricultural Transition

Photo of countryside

Posted on: 23 August 2021

Around £730,000 has been awarded to a scheme to help update farmers and landowners in Devon and Somerset on upcoming changes to funding support.

Devon County Council is one of 19 organisations across the country to receive a share of The Future Farming Resilience Fund from Defra.

The funding support is in preparation for the Agricultural Transition period which runs up to the end of 2027 as the government phases out EU funded Direct Payments and introduces a new system.

This interim phase of the Resilience Fund runs until March 2022 and will target farmers and landowners in the Heart of the South West LEP area, excluding Dartmoor and Exmoor (who will be able to access specific support through the National Parks). It will provide more than 770 farmers with the opportunity to attend information workshops.

For those who attend the workshops but need some further support, there will be the offer of one-to-one support available for almost 200 farms to provide business analysis, financial diagnostics and the opportunity to develop a bespoke action plan.

There will also be a number of specialist workshops on subjects including:

– diversification into other business areas,
– environmental schemes,
– business planning,
– farm succession planning and exiting the industry.

Any farmer or land manager currently in receipt of Direct Payments is eligible to apply.

Photo of Councillor Rufus Gilbert

Councillor Rufus Gilbert

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery and Skills, said: “The project is designed to help farmers and landowners to navigate the changes during the Agricultural Transition and we want to ensure they are well informed and feel supported. This initiative will aim to give them a better understanding of what the phasing out of Direct Payments will mean for them and how they can improve their business.

“It will also help identify how and when they may need to adapt their business, and how to access support to make any necessary changes. Our teams will monitor the impact and value for money of the resilience support to help Defra develop a nationwide scheme.”

This interim phase, which will be delivered by Business Information Point, follows a successful pilot delivered by Devon County Council between February 2020 and March this year, supporting 30 lowland grazing farms in Mid and East Devon. Each farm received one-to-one support and business planning advice from a business advisor, and this identified demand for longer term support.

Defra will be evaluating these projects and others around the country as it looks to scale-up a national scheme which is due to be launched in April 2022.

Anyone who wants to find out more about the programme in the Heart of the South West area should contact farmingresilience@devon.gov.uk

You can find out more about events near you or register your details via the Business Information Point webpages.

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