Farming Innovation Programme launched to boost the future of farming

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 has opened for applications today (October 20).

The Farming Innovation Programme, one of the new measures set out in the Government’s Agricultural Transition Plan, 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.

In partnership with UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), Defra is making £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.

Other funds to be launched

Early next year, Defra will launch the ‘Farming Futures R&D Fund’, for strategic projects aimed at tackling climate change by reducing the environmental impact of farming.

The third of the funds, called ‘Projects to Accelerate Adoption Fund’, will launch later in 2022 to support farmer-led projects to trial the viability of new innovations on farm.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Jo Churchill, said:

“Innovation is vital to address the challenges facing the agricultural and horticultural sectors.

New ideas, technologies and processes will play a key role in helping farmers, growers and businesses to become more productive.

“The Farming Innovation Programme will enable the sector to be more environmentally sustainable and resilient, whilst helping it achieve its net zero ambitions. I encourage all eligible businesses and individuals to apply.”