Defra to issue groups £9m to advise farmers on BPS transition

The support will be offered free of charge to 9,000 farmers and land managers
The support will be offered free of charge to 9,000 farmers and land managers

The government will issue £9m worth of funding to organisations so they can support farmers with the transition away from the EU's Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

Defra's Future Farming Resilience Fund (FFRF) will soon award grants to industry groups who will, in turn, support up to 9,000 farmers free of charge.

Organisations have been invited to apply for funding, with the deadline for submitting applications set for 7 May.

The average farm in England will see direct payment cuts of over 50% by 2024 before new post-Brexit schemes are fully available, the department confirmed in November.

The Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMS) will be rolled out in its place, to incentivise sustainable farming practices while boosting the environment.

Defra said resilience support should help individual farmers learn more about topics such as the impact of BPS reductions, business planning and succession planning.

It could be delivered in the form of workshops supported by experts or through direct, one-to-one advice.

Defra said: "We want farmers and land managers to feel supported to make the best decisions for their farms, families and future.

"We’ve had to revise the timetable for the roll-out of the fund given the timing of the launch of this tender exercise.

"We now expect that the support to farmers and land managers will be available from late July/ August rather than May."

The successful grant applicants will be announced in July and support will be scaled up from April 2022.