DEFRA has announced that a £12.5m fund from its £270m Farming Innovation Programme will be allocated to developing “sustainable farm-based proteins”.
The cash will be made available to farmers, businesses and academics developing alternative proteins on-farm – including crops such as beans and peas that could feed into poultry production.
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Farmers who currently receive Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments in England can now apply for the scheme, which will reward sustainable practices which support food production and benefit the environment.
Reducing the reliance on imported soya by developing alternative sources of protein is seen as a priority for the poultry sector, which is responsible for half the meat eaten in the UK.
The Sustainable Farming Incentive is the first of three new environmental land management schemes being introduced under the Agricultural Transition Plan, the UK’s post-Brexit farming support model.
Defra said it was opening the scheme in a controlled rollout from 30 June to manage the opening in a careful, measured way.
Those with no other agri-environment agreements can apply online straight away al others will be asked to let the Rural Payment Agency (RPA) know they want to apply and RPA will get in touch and support them to do so.
This is to ensure everyone receives the right level of service and support during this initial phase of rollout, Defra said.
Farming minister, Victoria Prentis, explained: The Sustainable Farming Incentive is designed to be accessible and recognises the importance of domestic food production to our national resilience.”
More information is available on the Farming Innovation website