Defra launch Lump Sum Exit scheme

Farmers in England who wish to leave the industry can now apply for Defra’s Lump Sum Exit scheme to allow them to leave the sector in a managed way.

While no similar scheme is on offer to Scottish farmers, their counterparts south of the border who intend to take up the option will be expected to either rent or sell their land or surrender their tenancy in order to create opportunities for new entrants and farmers wishing to expand their businesses.

Defra said that the scheme which had followed a public consultation on the issue built on evidence that some farmers wanted to retire or leave the industry - but found it difficult to do so for financial reasons.

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The exit payment provided to eligible applicants will be based on the average direct payments made to the farmer for the 2019 to 2021 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) years, with the reference figure capped at £42,500 and multiplied by 2.35 to calculate the lump sum, meaning that farmers could receive up to around £100,000.

“We want to support new entrants coming into the industry and will be giving more detail of our next steps in the near future,” said Environment Secretary George Eustice.

He added that the decision to retire or exit the industry could be extremely difficult and was frequently postponed but added:

“The Scheme will also free up land for new entrants to farming - and we will be saying more about our new entrants’ scheme shortly,” said Eustice.

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