Tractor drilling seeding crops at farm field

Farmers to benefit from pilot innovation scheme

1 min read

Staffordshire has been included in a pilot innovation scheme to support new entrants into farming.

The initiative launched by Defra will help entrepreneurs develop their business ideas, foster innovation and promote growth.

Called the New Entrant Support Scheme, the aim is to provide tactical support to fledgling businesses through the early stages of development. There will also be expert help provided to pitch for land and the finance required to get new ventures off the ground. 

Defra wants to recruit around 200 pilot participants in total. This process will start in December with the pilot running until Spring 2023.

Activities will take place in the evenings and weekends and can be carried out online at a time that suits participants – and at no cost.

The pilot is not just for arable or animal farming businesses. It also includes horticulture, agro-forestry and environmental service businesses, such as providing livestock for arable farms as part of an agroecology system.  

Those eligible to apply include:

  • individuals with some farming experience, but not their own land-based business 
  • individuals with 4 to 10 years’ experience running a land-based farming business 

Eventually the New Entrant Support Scheme will be rolled out England-wide but the pilot is currently restricted to certain areas.

These include the West Midlands and Staffordshire where the project will be administered and led by Harper Adams University.

Harper Adams Visiting Lecturer Emma Cantillion, based in the Food, Land and Agribusiness Department, said: “Recent impacts of Brexit, pandemic and war have far-reaching consequences for agriculture.

“When coupled with changes in subsidy payments, and the urgent need to move towards both more regenerative and productive farming, a chance has presented itself for new entrants with novel ideas and innovative practices to generate exciting new ways of working in this traditional sector.” 

To express an interest in the pilot, email

Nigel Pye

Experienced journalist with a 30-year career in the newspaper and PR industry and a proven record for breaking stories for the national and international press. Nigel is the Editor of Daily Focus and Head of Creative at i-creation. Other work includes scriptwriting, magazine and video production, crisis communications and TV and radio broadcasts.

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