Farming families across England are being invited to join a free programme of support – without even needing to leave their farm.

Now in its third year, The Royal Countryside Fund’s Farm for the Future programme is offering farming families free support, guidance and advice on business and environmental management.

As well as the in-person groups in 18 regions across England, the RCF is offering a unique virtual group allowing farmers to access support within their own home.

Farm for the Future has achieved impressive results with 95 per cent of participating farms saying they have increased confidence in their ability to plan for the future, and nearly 1,500 farming families taking part across England since 2021 and builds on the success of The Royal Countryside Fund’s Farm Resilience Programme.

Andrew and Laura, who run a beef farm in Staffordshire participated in the programme in 2022. They both attended the virtual workshop which they reported as being helpful as they find it difficult to get away from the farm.

The Northern Farmer: Laura and Andrew are amongst the many farming families who have benefited from the free Farm for the Future programme

Laura said: “The programme was fantastic and would absolutely recommend the programme to other farmers. Christina Hutchings, the coordinator of the online group, was fantastic in organising the workshops, and provided a lot of communication.” She described the speakers throughout the programme as “informative and engaging”.

The flexible programme has helped them navigate the change in subsidies from BPS payments and they believe that they would have struggled in this transition without the programme. As a result of the programme, they now claim Countryside Stewardship and are due to sign up to claim the management fee and the animal health and welfare grant. It has also taught them more about the importance of looking after their soils and understanding the importance of the hedgerows.

Maddy Taylor, head of operations at The Royal Countryside Fund, said: “Farm for the Future is a proven source of trusted advice, delivered in an approachable, relatable way. The Royal Countryside Fund, as a charity, is able to give this advice entirely impartially, and we aim to provide ongoing support to Farm for the Future farmers long after the programme has ended. We’re working with an excellent network of local and regional farm support groups to deliver Farm for the Future, who have an in depth understanding of the issues facing farms in their local area.”

More than 15 hours of training and one-to-one support is available for any English farm currently in receipt of BPS. The workshops that form the Farm for the Future programme are tailored to the local groups so farmers can be certain that they’re receiving advice that will work for their business.

To learn more about the virtual Farm for the Future programme, email Christina Hutchings at email or call 07715 353546.

Registration for the 2023-24 programme is open with the first welcome meeting taking place on Monday, November 13, at 6.30pm via zoom. Sessions are recorded and can be viewed after the live events.