What new schemes will be introduced by the ‘Path to Sustainable Farming’?

The government has laid out its plans for future agricultural schemes  in the ‘Path to Sustainable Farming’ document which was launched today (November 30) for English farmers.

Also Read: ‘We are no longer bound by the EU’ – Landmark ‘Path to Sustainable Farming’ document

Each UK administration has the flexibility to develop agricultural policy suited to their own circumstances.

A host of new schemes are set to be introduced by the programme with the phasing out of Direct Payments set to play a big role.

The government said that the funding gained from phasing out Direct Payments will be used to introduce new schemes to help farmers become more productive and meet the growing demand for their produce all around the world.

The new Farming Investment Fund will be open for applications next year. The fund will provide targeted support to businesses so that they can invest in equipment, technology, and infrastructure that will improve their productivity and deliver environmental and other public benefits.

The two levels for this fund will be the Farming Equipment Technology Fund, which will offer small grants to contribute towards the purchase of a list of specified items and the Farming Transformation Fund, which will provide larger grants towards the cost of more substantial investments in equipment, technology or infrastructure, with the potential to transform business performance.

Eligible investments

Eligible investments under these funds may include on-farm water storage infrastructure, robotic or automated technology, items to improve animal health and welfare and equipment for processing agricultural products, which may help farmers to streamline or diversify their businesses.

From 2022, farmers will also benefit from an increased investment in agricultural research and development that will enable more farmers and agri-food businesses to drive innovation.

This will see farmer-led research and development projects to trial and demonstrate viability of new and existing technologies to address immediate on-farm productivity challenges as well as research into how agriculture can meet its longer term goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net zero.

Example projects could be trialling new feed additives or demonstrating the integration of autonomous farm machinery.