The government made a series of announcements this morning to support Back British Farming day today. Below is the press release.


Government backs plans to boost British produce on Back British Farming Day  


  • Government backs calls to help customers buy British when they shop online 
  • The first Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) payments will be made this year so farmers who are in SFI this year, get a boost to help with cashflow
  • Investment in solar technologies and small abattoirs will boost productivity across the supply chain and help grow the economy, whilst improving the environment   


The Food and Farming Secretary Thérèse Coffey has today provided a boost to British farmers with a package of measures to help people “buy British” and provide farmers with the cashflow they need to invest in their businesses. 


Building on the commitment to keep producing 60% of the food we consume here in the UK, and providing a boost to the UK’s £127 billion food and farming sector, the Food and Farming Secretary has backed calls for industry-led action to signpost customers to ‘buy British’ when they shop online and will support campaigns to endorse the taste and quality of home-grown meat and dairy products.  


The government has also confirmed that farmers producing sustainable British food under our environmental land management schemes will be able to use them to help meet public procurement standards, benefiting our British farmers and allowing the public sector to benefit from more excellent British food. 


To ensure British produce is enjoyed both at home and around the world, the government has started the recruitment drive appointment of five extra agri-food attaches to unlock new trading markets, adding a further boost to the UK’s food and drink exports which bring £24 billion to the British economy. 


 Food and Farming Secretary Thérèse Coffey said:  


“This government will always back British farmers who produce some of the highest quality food in the world, contribute billions to our economy, and are the custodians of our countryside.  


“Today’s announcements are acting on commitments made at the Farm to Fork Summit and driving forward our new farming schemes to deliver a profitable and sustainable food and farming sector that delivers for people and our planet now and into the future.” 


The government’s flexible and accessible farming schemes are supporting farmers to produce high-quality food while delivering for the environment. An increasing number of farmers are taking part in our environmental land management schemes, with 32,000 Countryside Stewardship agreements successfully in place across England for 2023 - a 94% increase in since 2020 - and over 6,000 applications already received this year.


The new and improved Sustainable Farming Incentive 2023 – which has 23 actions on offer for farmers - is currently accepting expressions of interest and will start accepting applications from 18 September. Today, in recognition of the challenges faced with inflation and rising input costs, we are confirming that farmers who have a live Sustainable Farming Incentive 2023 (SFI) agreement before the end of the year, will receive an accelerated payment in the first month of their agreement, helping with cashflow and ensuring SFI works for farm businesses. 


Farming Minister Mark Spencer said: 


“I continue to do all I can to support British farmers and growers and our flexible new farming schemes and continued investment in technology and automation are already delivering positive outcomes for domestic food production and the environment.  


“With another record year for Countryside Stewardship, it’s great to see so many farmers signing up and getting involved. I will continue to work closely with the sector to take on board feedback to ensure our schemes work in the best possible way so farmers can run profitable and sustainable businesses into the future”. 


The government will also identify opportunities to remove unnecessary burdens for Small Abattoirs to make it easier for them to operate and support farmers in reaching local and international markets. This will be supported by a £4 million Small Abattoir Fund – opening by the end of 2023 – to improve productivity, enhance animal health and welfare, and encourage investment in new technologies. 


The support for Small Abattoirs is the latest move by government to increase fairness in the supply chain, with new regulations for the dairy and pig sectors to be introduced next year, and consultations on eggs and horticulture supply chains launching later this year. 


It comes as the government continues to invest in innovation and automation to increase productivity, with £30 million announced today for farmers to invest in automated, robotic and solar technologies. Later this year, farmers will be able to bid for a share of £15 million to install solar equipment which, alongside a further £15 million to invest in automation and robotics, will help them reduce fossil fuel use, improve their energy resilience and accelerate progress towards net zero. 




Notes to editors: 


Small Abattoir Fund: The Small Abattoir Fund will be open to red meat and poultry businesses with an annual throughput of up to 10,000 livestock units including beef, pork and lamb, and/or 500,000 birds per year. 


Promoting British produce: This government’s endorsement to ‘back British' is part of the government’s wider drive to promote British produce – around the world, as well as at home. Our food and drink exports bring £24 billion to the British economy, and we have had great success stories in recent years including securing access for British lamb to the US. Our network of agri-food attaches help break down barriers to trade and open up new trading markets and, following our commitment at the Farm to Fork Summit, we have launched a recruitment drive to appoint five extra agri-food attaches to boost the UK’s agri-food exports, bringing the total number of dedicated UK agri-food attachés to 16. The new attachés will cover Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Australia/New Zealand, South Korea and Africa. Most significantly the government announced at the Farm to Fork summit that farmers’ interests will be put at the heart of trade policy through a new framework for trade negotiations, committing to protect the UK’s high food and welfare standards and prioritise new export opportunities. 


Investing in technology: The government has invested over £133 million in grant funding this year alone to develop and scale up innovative technologies to boost farm productivity and help reach net zero, including asparagus harvesting ‘robots’ through to the use of ultraviolet as a disinfectant in the dairy and poultry sectors. Announced today, farmers will be able to bid for up to £100,000 from a pot of £15 million to install rooftop solar equipment when the second round of the Improving Farm Productivity Grant opens later this year. This will come alongside a further £15 million on offer to farmers to invest in automation and robotics. This follows our announcement of up to £30 million investment to drive forward the use of precision breeding technologies at the Farm to Fork summit, building on the £8 million already invested over the last five years and the passing of the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Act.