£30 million funding available for cutting edge farming projects

UP TO £30 million has been awarded to cutting-edge farming projects that will boost food production, move towards net zero, and create a more resilient and sustainable agricultural sector.

The projects announced by Defra include:

  • Ground-breaking genetics research projects which could reduce methane emissions in cattle by 17% per generation, and produce a reliable UK-grown protein source that can replace soya in human foods
  • Investigations into the use of drones and artificial intelligence to inspect and monitor animals to enable farmers to take action should animals go missing or need attention
  • Efforts to develop biopesticides using fungal strains that help tackle pests in wheat crops, and to pin-point the genetics for creating slug resistant wheat

Alongside the £30 million set to be awarded to more than 50 successful projects, the government has also made a further £12.5 million available to fund innovative projects helping to deliver a more productive, resilient and sustainable agricultural sector.

The funding is all part of the Farming Innovation Programme, run in partnership with UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) and delivered by Innovate UK, which is making £270 million in grants available before the end of the agricultural transition to fund research and development projects to help farmers and growers produce food more sustainably.

Secretary of State for Agriculture Thérèse Coffey said “Farmers are always forward-looking, and innovation is key to driving forward a resilient, productive and sustainable agriculture sector that puts food on our tables whilst protecting and restoring the environment. Alongside our new farming schemes, these grants will help to support farmers and pave the way for a technological transformation that will help produce food sustainably for generations to come.”

The new £12.5 million ‘On-Farm Environmental Resilience’ competition will see farmers and growers apply for up to £1 million in project costs to drive the development of new technology and innovative farming methods, with a focus on practical solutions that make a real impact on farms.

Projects could find new ways to detect pests and prevent and manage disease; help farmers to reduce their fertiliser use; boost soil resilience; and manage threats from extreme weather and flooding. Projects researching how gene editing and methods including regenerative cropping could boost productivity and crop resilience are also encouraged to apply.

Details for the new competitions feasibility strand can be found here and details for the competitions industrial research strand can be found here. UK registered businesses will be able to apply until Wednesday 19 July 2023.


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