If you’re not familiar with farming, buying a smallholding can be a daunting experience. For that reason, knowing whom to call on for advice when things go wrong, or where to seek financial expertise in a time of need are questions that you will no doubt ask yourself at some stage.
But help is available and this includes Government support with grants and payments. We take a look at some of the options that are available to smallholders and farmers…
Basic Payment Scheme (BPS)
If you don’t know about it, you’ve probably heard about it; the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is the biggest rural grants and payments scheme in the European Union.
The scheme was formed as part of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which the European Commission describes as a ‘partnership between Europe and its farmers’.
It consists of agricultural subsidies and programmes such as the BPS.
The BPS provides support for farmers and smallholders by supplementing the income from their business.
Who can apply?
If you’re a smallholder or farmer you can apply as long as you meet the requirements laid out.
This includes being an ‘active farmer’ with at least 5 hectares (12.3 acres) of land that is used for an agricultural activity.
For more detailed information about whether your farm or smallholding meets the entry requirements please visit
How to apply?
For the first time this year farmers were given the option to apply online in addition to the paper form.
To find out more about the BPS scheme visit the Government website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/start-your-2016-basic-payment-scheme-application-now
Rural Development Programme
The Rural Development Programme is another scheme that stems from the Common Agricultural Policy.
The Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) is part of the UK National Rural Network, which links all development programmes across Europe.
It aims to make England’s agriculture and forestry sectors more competitive by providing farmers with support, tools and grants.
LEADER funding falls under the RDPE and provides opportunities for farmers to access grants for their business.
Funding is distributed by Local Action Groups, which determine suitable projects.
Projects must support one or more of the 6 LEADER priorities:
• Increase farm productivity
• Support micro and small businesses and farm diversification
• Provide rural services
• Boost rural tourism
• Increase forestry productivity
• Provide cultural and heritage activities
How to apply
To find out what funding is available in your area and how to apply, contact your Local Action Group.
There are 10 across the South West; to see which one you fall into and their contact details visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/448033/Map_approved_LEADER_2014-2020.pdf (map) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/511271/list_of_LAGs_ver_11__March_2016_.pdf (contact details)
To find out more about the LEADER funding programme visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/rural-development-programme-for-england-leader-funding
Other types of grants
If your farm or smallholding promotes sustainability or practices environmental techniques, there may be other types of funding within the RDPE that apply to you.
Do your research to ensure you’re not missing out on any grants that you could benefit from.
Visit https://www.gov.uk/topic/farming-food-grants-payments/rural-grants-payments for more information.
For more technical advice we thoroughly recommend visiting the Government website, which has a wealth of information.
You can find out more through the links above.
Our farming and smallholder courses
Want to learn more about becoming a smallholder or farmer? Our Devon-based courses and workshops provide information about being a farmer/ land-owner.
Visit our courses page or give Helen a call on 07816 514667.