On Wednesday 30th March 2022, Defra announced a new package of support for farmers ahead of the coming growing season.
The announcement has received widespread coverage across national, trade and regional titles, including the BBC, The Guardian, Farmers Weekly, Farmers Guardian, Yorkshire Post, BBC Radio 4 Farming Today, iNews, The Daily Telegraph, and Eastern Daily Press.
With agricultural commodities closely linked to global gas prices, farmers are facing rising costs for inputs including manufactured fertiliser, due to the process depending on gas. The Government announced steps to assist farmers with the availability of fertilisers for the coming growing season to help address uncertainty amongst growers and keep costs down for farmers.
The package of measures covers:
- Changes to Urea usage: a delay to the proposed changes in use of urea fertiliser to help farmers manage costs.
- Sustainable Farming Incentive 2022: further details on guidance, including steps aimed at bringing about more sustainable fertiliser technologies.
- Farming Innovation Programme: a further £20.5 million in R&D grants to launch two new products aimed at boosting productivity.
- Farming Rules for Water: an update on to clarify the recent changes on manure spreading and use of fertilisers, which will be supported through new slurry storage grants.
- Fertiliser Roundtable: plans for a newly established fertiliser roundtable to be chaired by Minister Prentis.
The announcement has been welcomed by key stakeholders, from the NFU, Country Land and Business Association (CLA), and the Soil Association.
Defra Environment Secretary, George Eustice; CLA President, Mark Tufnell; Soil Association Farming Director, Liz Bowles; and NFU President, Minette Batters, have provided commentary in our press notice.
Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said:
The significant rise in the cost of fertiliser is a reminder that we need to reduce our dependence on manufacturing processes dependent on gas. Many of the challenges we face in agriculture will require a fusion of new technology with conventional principles of good farm husbandry. The measures we have announced today are not the whole solution but will help farmers manage their nitrogen needs in the year ahead.