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How to transition your farm from Direct Payments to ELM schemes

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The Landworkers’ Alliance are a union of farmers and land based workers, providing support and services that support a better food and land-use system for everyone.

The end to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) has led to the future feeling uncertain for many farmers. But there is currently FREE support available to help farmers in England transition to the new Environmental Land Management schemes (ELM or ELMS) and build an economically and environmentally sustainable future for your farm.

  • Need help understanding the payments replacing BPS?
  • Do you want to reduce your input costs?
  • Are you looking to sell directly or shorten your supply chains?
  • Want to improve your soil quality?
  • Interested in learning about different certifications that drive value for the changes you’re making?
  • Interested in using environmentally friendly farming methods?

For support on these questions and more, the Your Farming Future programme can help. This support is available between now and March 2022.

Sign up here: landworkersalliance.org.uk/your-farming-future

Watch this video to find out more about what the LWA support covers.

What kind of support is available?

1. Interactive farmer-led webinars

Each week, participate in farmer-led webinars, or watch them on catch-up. Topics include:

  • How to create a direct market in different sectors
  • How to build soil health
  • How to extend your grazing system
  • How to reduce inputs in your farming system

2. One-to-one consultancy

Advisors will help farmers look at their whole farming systems to evaluate their business and farming model from inputs to the end supply chain.

Identify ways to help your farm business become more environmentally sustainable in preparation for ELM and more economically sustainable as BPS income ends.

Tailored support will be aimed at exploring key changes associated with conversion to more environmentally sustainable and agroecological farming systems.

Production systems can include:

  • Regenerative/low input systems
  • Organic farming (certified)
  • Pasture fed livestock systems
  • Agroforestry/silvopasture
  • Biodynamic farming

3. Peer-support networks and farm tours

This programme will enable access to peer-to-peer support networks that will help with ongoing support and learning.

The peer-to-peer support network model has been developed through an ELM Test and Trial, and is a successful format for supporting farmers.

They are invaluable for information and skill sharing and provide mental health and well-being support.

4. Transition Toolkit

The Transition Toolkit enables farmers to fully understand the changes that will take place during the agricultural transition, including changes to the direct payments and how this will affect their farm business.

The Toolkit will include written resources and information, and sector-specific films sharing case studies of different environmental land management practices and farming models.

Tractor with wind turbines

© Luke Thornton/Unsplash

Who is eligible for support?

The support offered through the Your Farming Future programme is free for farmers in England in the following sectors:

  • Medium to large scale horticulture (above 5 hectares)
  • SME dairy production
  • SME red meat production
  • Mixed farming systems

Sign up for the programme here.

Why the Your Farming Future programme is for you

This programme is being run as a partnership between:

Jyoti Fernandes from the Landworkers’ Alliance says, “Over the next seven years, the subsidy system for farmers is completely changing. The payments that were there through the BPS are no longer going to be available, and at the same time, the Government is coming up with a way to pay farmers for delivering public money for public goods.”

This is part of DEFRA’s Future Farming Resilience Fund to help support farmers through the agricultural transition. You can find out more about the fund on the government website.

David Andrews, of Warson Farm, has already made changes to create a sustainable and diverse business, including direct selling:

To be sustainable, you have to be profitable. You have to have a relationship with the consumer where there is a mutual respect for getting a fair price for a fair product.”

The experts in their field delivering the webinars and advice include:

More information and sign up here: https://landworkersalliance.org.uk/your-farming-future