Farmers wishing to leave industry can now apply for Defra Lump Sum Exit Scheme

The UK Government is now accepting applications for the Lump Sum Exit Scheme, which will facilitate a voluntary planned exit from the industry and create opportunities for new entrants.

Farmers in England who wish to leave the industry can apply for the new exit scheme, which will provide a payment so they can exit the sector in a managed way.

In return, farmers 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.

The scheme, which opens for applications today (12 April) until 30 September 2022, follows a public consultation and builds on evidence that some farmers would like to retire or leave the industry, but have found it difficult to do so for financial reasons.

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.

This reference figure will be capped at £42,500 and multiplied by 2.35 to calculate the lump sum, meaning that farmers could receive up to around £100,000.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “The decision to retire or exit the industry can be extremely difficult and is frequently postponed.

“The purpose of the Lump Sum Exit Scheme is to assist farmers who want to exit the industry to do so in a planned way that provides them with the means to make a meaningful choice about their future.

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

The Lump Sum Exit Scheme guidance, including how to apply, can be found at www.gov.uk/rpa/lump-sum-exit-scheme

The Future Farming Resilience Fund, which provides free expert business advice to BPS recipients in England, is still open for applications.

Delivery partners will be able to support farmers in making decisions on how to ensure they have viable businesses or, indeed, to make the decision to exit the sector.

A further phase of support will be launched in late September and will run until March 2025.