Seventeen providers across England have been awarded grants by Defra to fund this support programme, with a total budget of £32 million.
There are a mixture of regional providers as well as larger providers offering national support; the current funding is to cover support for farmers until March 2025.
The free and confidential support on offer will range from one-to-one consultations and farm visits, followed up by recommendations in a report, to workshops, webinars, tours and networking opportunities to help farmers get support from each other.
To find an organisation providing free advice on agricultural transition in your area, visit: GOV.UK | Organisations giving free advice in your area (listed by county)
The emphasis is on support and guiding farmers through a turbulent period with the removal of BPS and a whole new series of schemes to understand and consider.
All of the organisations involved in the scheme will have access to the latest Defra guidance as well as training to help farmers understand any elements of the transition period that they might be struggling to grasp. There are some providers offering sector specific support, while others will offer more general farming guidance.
Each organisation has a breakdown of the types of support they can provide, making it easy for farmers to choose they type of support they feel they need, such as having a one-to-one farm visit or if they would prefer group workshops then they can also find providers who will accommodate this.
The scheme is expected to support 32,000 farms by the time it closes. Anyone receiving BPS is eligible to apply, but each provider is operating on a first-come, first-served basis, so interested members are advised to sign up sooner, rather than later.
The NFU has worked with Defra to ensure this support package is fit for purpose for farmers. We've asked that there is geographical coverage with choice of providers and asked that the scheme gives the opportunity of in depth discussions about farm business and that such support is there over a period of time.
We are not a provider of the service but are helping facilitate the reach of the scheme to our members. We recommend that members consider the offers from the providers carefully – they all offer slightly different approaches to farm business support and you need to find the right one that fits your needs.