Free toolkit published to help farmers explore new sources of income 

A free and interactive farming toolkit has been published today, aiming to empower farmers to understand nature markets and help them determine whether they could provide a suitable new income stream for their business. 

The Green Finance Institute (GFI) issued the Farming Toolkit for Assessing Opportunities in Nature Markets

The Green Finance Institute (GFI) issued the Farming Toolkit for Assessing Opportunities in Nature Markets. This free and independent resource will equip UK farming communities with an understanding of nature markets, such as carbon credits, biodiversity net gain, and nutrient neutrality, and support them with their eligibility for NEIRF funding.  

With this information, farmers will be able to assess if nature markets are right for them. The toolkit can help them attract private sector finance to pay for additional improvements to the natural environment, supporting them with access to the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund (NEIRF), the third round of which makes funding available exclusively to farmers.  

The toolkit was designed and tested with a diverse group of over 100 farmers, representing various farm sizes, agricultural sectors, ownership structures, and regions. It provides a framework for farmers to identify and assess nature market opportunities.   

Get paid for delivering environmental improvements

The publication includes an introductory guide to nature markets and glossary, as well as detailed step-by-step guidance from assessing land, through engaging with other farmers, to attracting buyers and the final selling of credits or units. The toolkit also includes case studies of farmers already engaging in nature markets, useful resources, and audio clips.   

Given that farmers are the custodians of the countryside, managing 70% of land, they are central to supporting the UK in meeting its environmental targets by transitioning to nature-positive and low-emission farming practices.   

Nature markets offer one of several opportunities for farmers to be paid to deliver additional environmental improvements, thereby diversifying income streams and boosting resilience.   

A Cambridgeshire farmer and CEO of the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) warmly welcomed recent changes to the ELM scheme, which enable farmers to receive premium payments for taking environmental actions.   

£1 billion each year by 2030

The green finance minister, Lord Benyon, said: “We are committed to targeting at least £500 million of private investment for nature recovery in England each year by 2027, rising to at least £1 billion each year by 2030, and farmers will be key in delivering this.  

“This toolkit will be a valuable resource to give farmers and growers the information they need to develop their understanding of nature markets, providing them new opportunities to be paid for delivering environmental outcomes and contributing to a thriving and sustainable agricultural sector.” 

Rt Hon Lord Benyon, House of Commons.

Environment Agency’s NEIRF programme manager, Andy Slaney, added that understanding the opportunities that nature markets provide can feel like “a daunting prospect”.    

He said: “This pioneering GFI Farming Toolkit is an invaluable resource for the farming community when considering how to enhance nature and improve the climate resilience of their businesses whilst seeking to maintain a suitable income. We want nature markets to help the farming community transition to a sustainable state, this toolkit will help anyone embarking on that journey.”  

Step towards sustainable agriculture

The Farming Toolkit was developed in partnership with Defra, the Environment Agency, and in consultation with farmers. It also supports the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund (NEIRF) Round 3 process.

NEIRF is a project development fund that is run by the EA and Defra, which provides grants to help nature restoration project managers, land managers and eNGOs to explore how private finance can be channelled into nature, including through nature markets. The third round of NEIRF funding is aimed specifically at farmers, with applications closing 16th February 2024.  

The Toolkit builds upon findings from the GFI’s Financing a Farming Transition report from March 2023, which identified a lack of clarity on nature markets as a barrier to financing the transition to more sustainable agriculture.  

Find the Farming Toolkit for Assessing Opportunities in Nature Markets here  

For more stories on rural farming, visit our Rural news hub 

© Farmers Guide 2024. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use Privacy Policy

Website Design by Unity Online

We have moved!

We’ve now moved to our new office in Stowmarket. If you wish to contact us please use our new address:

Unit 3-4 Boudicca Road, Suffolk Central Business Park, Stowmarket, IP14 1WF

Thank you,

The Farmers Guide Team