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Top 40 law firm Trowers & Hamlins recently hosted the latest in a series of workshops held to help Devon and Somerset farmers prepare for the biggest change in farm support for generations.

The well supported event, held at the Devon Hotel in Exeter, was part of the Future Farming Resilience programme run by Devon County Council in preparation for the Agricultural Transition period. 

Lloyds Bank agriculture farming ambassador and TV presenter Adam Henson delivered the keynote speech, sharing his views on the future off British farming and experiences of future proofing.

Adam Henson said: “A key part of sustainability for a business is about relationships with staff and customers and that is earnt through trust and respect.”

Between now and 2027, the government will reduce and then stop EU funded Direct Payments. Instead, farmers will be supported to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare, and reduce carbon emissions.

Devon County Council has been funded by Defra to provide support and advice for farmers and land managers in the Heart of the South West LEP area (excluding Dartmoor and Exmoor - who will be able to access specific support through the National Parks) to navigate the changes ahead. The support is free and available until February 2022 to any farmer or land manager currently in receipt of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments.

The event was jointly hosted by Trowers & Hamlins and Business Information Point (BIP).

Stewart Horne from Business Information Point (BIP) led the workshop, providing guidance on future options that are available including Environmental Land Management Schemes and business diversification strategies.

Nicola Janus-Harris, Senior Associate at Trowers & Hamlins, said: 

“The last couple of years has put an increased focus on the importance of the agricultural sector and the need for local food production. We are entering a huge period of change for all of those working in the agricultural sector and whilst this event shows a promising outlook for British farming, there is also a need to capitalise on new opportunities and start planning and preparing for the future.”

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery and Skills, said: 

“All of our Agricultural Transition workshops have been well attended, with farmers and landowners keen to find out more about Direct Payments being gradually phased out. This will be a big change for many and the next few years of this transition period will be needed to plan ahead and adjust. Hopefully everyone who attended this workshop will have a better understanding of what these funding changes will mean for them. Those who haven’t initially found a date to suit them are advised to look out for new dates and locations over the coming months.”