Farmers’ views on agri-environment schemes sought

The changing landscape of income streams for farmers is being explored by an Agri-business student at Harper Adams University in a final year research project.

BSc (Hons) Agri-Business student Katie Slawson, from Market Drayton in Shropshire, was inspired to investigate the attitudes of English farmers to agri-environment grants and annual payments during her industry placement year.

On placement, Slawson worked at SRH Agribusiness Ltd, a Preston-based business which helps offer strategic, operational and financial management to farmers.

Slawson said, “During this time, I assisted businesses across the northwest by providing support with grant and scheme applications, along with offering business and financial advice.

“While some farmers readily embraced the opportunity to access and apply for grant and scheme funds, others were more hesitant. This prompted my research to explore attitudes towards this across England.

“I am exploring farmers attitudes towards agri-environment grants and schemes post-Brexit and whether external factors, such as the supply chain, are affecting this attitude. I have selected this topic because the removal of the Basic Payment Scheme after Brexit has brought an array of challenges, with English farmers actively exploring alternative avenues for funding to support their enterprises.

“This endeavour is not only driven by the need for financial sustenance but also by the imperative to tackle sustainability and achieve net zero targets, which are confronting farmers today.”

Slawson is both asking farmers to fill in a questionnaire – which can be found online – and then interviewing them about their decisions.

With her studies driven by her love of agriculture, Slawson opted to study Agri-Business at Harper Adams with an eye in building a career in the industry.

She added, “I believe studying an Agri-Business degree gives me a multitude of opportunities across the whole agricultural sector.

“The blend of management and agricultural education has allowed me to encompass my passion for agriculture within a degree.

“It gives me the opportunity to explore all the avenues agriculture has to offer in terms of farm business management, supply chains, crops and livestock whilst also being able to review marketing principles, business data analysis and the many organisations and businesses that make up the wider picture of agriculture in the UK.

“My degree has enabled me to view the different aspects of agriculture, allowing myself to balance the range of forces at play to not only produce sustainable food – but also profitable results.

“The reason I chose Harper Adams is due to its profound reputation across the industry – and its post-graduation employability levels.”

Farmers can fill in the online questionnaire here

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