UK Agricultural Transition Plan 2021 to 2024

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs| Source Download |

Over the span of 2021 to 2027, the UK will progressively phase out untargeted agricultural subsidies or Direct Payments, reallocating funds to support environmentally friendly practices, animal welfare, and carbon reduction efforts. The key objectives of the Agricultural Transition Plan are: 1) Foster a renewed agricultural sector capable of producing healthy, sustainable food without heavy reliance on subsidies, 2) Ensure farms contribute significantly to environmental goals, including combating climate change and promoting biodiversity.

Planned Approach

  • Collaboratively design policies with farmers, prioritizing support for sustainable practices and earning trust in regulatory systems.
  • Simplify processes, offer clear guidance, and ensure fairness throughout the transition.
  • Emphasize outcomes, adapting and learning from experiences as policies evolve.

Timeline of Changes

  • 2021: Initiate Direct Payment reductions, enhance existing schemes, and offer grants for environmental and productivity improvements.
  • 2022-2023: Continue reducing Direct Payments, roll out core elements of Environmental Land Management, and introduce support for innovation and productivity.
  • 2024-2028: Fully implement Environmental Land Management, phase out Direct Payments, and transition to a new regulatory regime.

Schemes and Support

  • Environmental Land Management: Reward farmers for public goods, prepare for full rollout by 2024.
  • Farm Prosperity: Offer grants for productivity, support new entrants, and invest in innovation.
  • Direct Payments: Simplify schemes, gradually reduce payments, and introduce lump sum exit options.

Alignment with Wider Policies

  • 25 Year Environment Plan: Contribute to environmental goals through sustainable land management.
  • Net Zero and Climate Change Adaptation: Support emissions reduction and carbon storage efforts in agriculture.
  • Supply Chain and Food Policies: Address market failures to strengthen farmers' positions.

2024 Progress Update

Since the publication of the Agricultural Transition Plan in 2020, significant progress has been made in shaping the future of agricultural policy in England. Our focus for the next phase revolves around three key priorities:

  • Productivity and Innovation: UK will provide financial support for investments in new technology, equipment, and infrastructure. Collaboration between English farmers and the vibrant agri-tech sector will drive the commercial viability of innovations, leading to more efficient and sustainable food production while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Scale: UK is targeting to have 39,000 farmers engaged in environmental schemes by ensureing fair payment rates, flexibility in schemes, and clearer, more effective regulatory services.
  • Ambition: Beyond achieving regulatory compliance and environmental management at scale, UK is encouraging and enabling more ambitious, targeted, and effective actions by incentivizing farmers for impactful activities, facilitating knowledge exchange among farmers, and attracting private finance.