In 2021 a seven-year transition was started by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). A transition away from EU-based rules, towards a system in which the government pays farmers to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare, and reduce carbon emissions. 

Defra states that this new approach aims to ‘support a vibrant and resilient agriculture sector’ whilst enabling them to ‘meet [their] ambitious targets, such as the protection of 30% of UK land by 2030 and Net Zero by 2050’. 

Payments in England would have halved by 2024 and will be gone completely by 2028, with other UK nations following suit. The transition has left some farmers concerned with how this gap will be bridged and how they can navigate these changes whilst ensuring the best possible business outcome.

Basic Payment Scheme

*Image credit: Defra, Farming is Changing

See how the progressive reductions affect your BPS payments by using the Defra calculator here. 

What is the new approach? 

A number of grants (and other help) to improve farm productivity and prosperity will be available and delivered by a new approach to farming regulation and enforcement. 

In addition, three new schemes will reward farmers and other land managers who may enter into agreements to be paid for delivering the following public goods:

  • Clean and plentiful water
  • Clean air
  • Thriving plants and wildlife
  • Reduction in and protection from environmental hazards
  • Adaptation to and mitigation of climate change
  • Beauty, heritage, and engagement with the environment

What are the new schemes? 

The three new schemes that will reward environmental land management are:

The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI)

Through SFI, within a few years the government wants all farmers to see producing environmental and climate change benefits as an integral part of their business, alongside food production. Set to launch in mid-2022 after a pilot scheme involving 900 UK farmers, the government aims to have 70% of farms and farmland enrolled in the scheme by 2028. Read more here. 

The Local Nature Recovery Scheme (LNR)

Local Nature Recovery will take the best of Countryside Stewardship and include some new elements such as dovetailing with private schemes and working more collaboratively. The government hopes this will help create a scheme with wider appeal that can deliver more and better outcomes, in a less bureaucratic and more supportive way. The Local Nature Recovery Scheme will pay farmers and land managers for actions that support local nature recovery and deliver local environmental priorities. LNR agreements will be available from 2024, following a pilot starting in 2022. Read more here. 

The Landscape Recovery Scheme (LRS)

Landscape Recovery will pay landowners or managers who want to take a large-scale and long-term approach to producing environmental and climate outcomes through land-use change and habitat and ecosystem restoration. Applications to this scheme opened on the 1st of February 2022 with aims for a full scheme to be available in 2024. Read more and apply here. 

With the LNR and the LRS set to be the improved and more ambitious successor to the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, the government is also set to launch a new Tree Health Scheme in 2024. This will replace the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Capital Tree Health Restoration and Improvement grants. A Slurry Investment scheme will be offered from 2022 to help reduce pollution from farming. More schemes and information are set to be released. You can sign up for news from Defra here. 

Adapting whilst managing risk 

At Muddy Boots by TELUS Agriculture we believe that embracing digital transformation to harness the power of data will truly improve our customers business making decisions whilst reducing risk. The features of Greenlight Farm Management were designed by growers and agronomists, for growers and agronomists, and have been serving the UK farming industry for over 25 years. With the Net Zero goals and changes to government policy in mind, we are working hard to improve and increase the features of our cloud-based platform to better aid farmers in their everyday life. 

“The industry is facing challenges such as Regenerative Farming, Sustainability and achieving Net Zero, whilst maintaining profitable businesses. We believe that the face of Crop Recording is changing. In the next few years, instead of simply managing compliance and costs, we expect Crop Recording systems to be able to present analytics and business-specific information, as well as enable seamless integration with other systems, empowering users to navigate through these challenges and achieve their goals.”

Sarah Alexander, Product Lead - Farm, Muddy Boots by TELUS Agriculture. 

We are on our own journey of integrating sustainability enablement in all our products and services, to help our customers create enduring and measurable positive change in their operations and their supply chains. Sign up to our newsletter to receive updates on our sustainability services, our farm management services, industry news and offers here.

Further resources

See help, advice and support groups at The Princes’ Countryside Fund here. 

See resources, industry news and discussions from the Framers Weekly Transition Hub here. 

See other grants and schemes still available for the UK farming Industry here. 


Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 2022 - GOV.UK (

Farming is Changing (

Sustainable Farming Incentive: how the scheme will work in 2022 - GOV.UK (

Calculate my progressive reductions - GOV.UK (

Farm Support Groups - The Prince's Countryside Fund (

Rural payments and grants - GOV.UK (

Sustainable Farming Incentive: how the scheme will work in 2022 - GOV.UK (

Local Nature Recovery: more information on how the scheme will work - GOV.UK (

Applications for the Landscape Recovery scheme now open - GOV.UK (

Agricultural Transition - Farmers weekly (

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