Funding boost for farmers

Applications have opened for a new funding programme that aims to transform productivity and environmental sustainability in the rural sector

A new long-term funding programme that encourages farmers, growers, foresters and other businesses to embrace innovative new ways to maximise productivity has opened for applications (October 20).

The Farming Innovation Programme is one of the new measures set out in the Government’s Agricultural Transition Plan. The programme aims to support projects that will transform productivity and environmental sustainability in England’s agricultural and horticultural sectors, 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. For example, the use of artificial intelligence and low-emission machineries to optimise the production process, and the development of climate-resilient crops.

Responding to the launch of the Farming Innovation Programme, CLA President Mark Bridgeman said:

“We welcome these plans which will help bridge the divide between research and farm practice.

“Farmers and land managers should take this opportunity to get involved with research that will support decisions on farms and drive sustainable farming for the future. The timing is important and will encourage more innovation and confidence in new approaches to sustainable farming when the industry is crying out for investment and creation.”

Further information on Defra’s new funds is available at the Future Farming Blog and on the website here