Funding to help build the resilience of the rural economy

Farmers and landowners across the region will be able to access help to adjust to changes in farm subsidies, thanks to a £2.6million support package.

Following the success of previous phases of our Future Farming Resilience programme, we have received funding from Defra to expand the initiative.

The project aims to boost the rural economy by helping farmers improve their businesses and the environment. After covering Devon and Somerset, it will now also cover Dorset, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

It was initially piloted in 2020 in response to cuts to EU-funded direct payments, which will end completely in 2027. The loss of direct payments will remove around £883 million of revenue from the four counties over the period transition until 2027.

According to DEFRA figures, 65% of agricultural businesses in the South West are at risk of closing due to low profitability and high reliance on direct payments, so the Future Farming Resilience program will play a vital role in raising awareness among farmers about the government support that will be available to replace these payments.

The personalized support offered through the project will help farmers consider their options for the future and help rural communities in the region become more resilient to the changes ahead. Farmers will be supported to take advantage of business opportunities, improve the environment and reduce carbon emissions.

More than 350 agribusinesses have already received individual business support from the early stages of the project. More than 740 farmers and landowners also participated in agricultural transition information workshops to better understand changes to basic payment schemes as well as advice on new subsidies and support.

From September, the program will see farmers and their families supported through locally facilitated information workshops that will offer advice on changes to support during the agricultural transition period.

Those who attend the workshops and wish to explore in more detail how the changes will affect their business will be offered one-on-one business support assessing the impact that the reduction in direct payments will have on their business.

Specialized workshops will also be organized on a range of topics, including agricultural subsidy opportunities; how environmental programs can help generate income and the benefits of creating woodland for farmers.

Councilor Rufus Gilbert, Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery and Skills, said:

“We are delighted to be able to continue and scale up our support to farmers and landowners during this critical time, helping them prepare for the changes ahead. Agriculture plays a key role in Devon’s economy, supporting thousands of jobs both directly and through rural supply chains. The landowners’ guardianship of the landscape also acts as a driver for the wider tourism sector, making Devon an attractive place for people to live, work and visit.
“By securing the full amount of our bid, we are able to build on the success of the initial program in Devon and Somerset, which exceeded its initial targets. The Future Farming Resilience program can help agricultural businesses and the rural economy be more resilient, while benefiting our local environment and helping to address the climate emergency.

We will continue to lead the project, with the Business Information Point (BIP) leading the delivery, supported by several local advisors across various organisations. We will also work closely with local business partnerships, other local authorities, the National Farmers Union (NFU), colleges, trading standards teams and local growth centers to support the farming community.

For any inquiries about the program contact [email protected]

About Keneth T. Graves

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