National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

01 December 2020

The Government has unveiled its plans for future farming in England, which includes developing support for new entrants.

The Path to Sustainable Farming – An Agricultural Transition Plan 2021-2024 maps out a range of topics for ongoing co-design and engagement work, including emerging plans for an Environmental Land Management (ELM) national pilot in 2021, enhanced animal welfare, a future regulatory system, farming investment fund grants and opportunities for new entrants. There are also plans to introduce an ‘exit’ scheme to help farmers to retire.

The transitional plan outlines changes that will come into force over a period of seven years to help farmers adapt and plan for the future.

During 2020 Defra will share more detailed information about the ELM scheme national pilot and invite expressions of interest early in 2021. Co-design and workshops will also take place for further work on enhanced animal welfare, a future regulatory system, farming investment fund, a tree health pilot and opportunities for new entrants. There will be an animal health stakeholder event in 2021 and continued research and development stakeholder engagement for a scheme launch in 2022. Further consultations are planned for 2021 on welfare labelling, slurry, proposed lump sum exit scheme, pesticides, dairy contracts and producer organisations.

The changes will be designed to ensure that by 2028, farmers in England can sustainably produce healthy food profitably without subsidy, whilst taking steps to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare and reduce carbon emissions. 

Next year marks the start of the transition from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) towards new policies that will be co-designed and tested together with farmers, land managers and experts, to ensure that the new systems work for them.

Many YFC members have already taken part in consultations to discuss the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, which will incentivise sustainable farming practices, create habitats for nature recovery and establish new woodland to help tackle climate change.

The plan also includes details on improved training for farmers. Due to the varying levels of skills provision for agriculture, the government will contribute towards the establishment of a new professional body, the Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture.

This will be the home of professional development and training for the agriculture and horticulture industry in England and a new T Level qualification in Agriculture, Land Management and Production is to be offered from 2023.

It is hoped that the new Institute could offer opportunities for those wanting to enter the industry via different career routes.

Also outlined in the plan is the promise of funding for equipment and technology that will improve a farm business and the environment through a Farming Investment Fund. It will be based on the Countryside Productivity Scheme, with a similar application process.

The new roadmap comes a few weeks after the government’s landmark Agriculture Bill passed into law. To see the plan in full, visit here. Defra’s ‘Farming is Changing’ publication summarises the content of the plan, and is aimed at farmers and land managers. 



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