Exploring the potential of Regional Farm and Rural Support Groups to stimulate Green Finance Markets

This project aims to assess the potential of existing farmer groups across England to support Green Finance markets and other landscape scale environmental management initiatives.

Farmers organised in groups are more likely to be able to engage with green finance opportunities than individual farmers in isolation. Through conducting this research we want to better understand whether existing groups of farmers or organisations who have experience of working with and supporting groups of farmers would be willing and able to act as a bridging organisation between farmers and funders. The results of this research will be used to assess the geographical coverage of existing farmer groups and farmer support groups across England and their level of readiness to engage with green finance markets. In turn, this can inform what support would be needed to allow existing farmer groups to fully engage with these new funding opportunities.

The project runs from September 2023 to March 2024, is being conducted by the James Hutton Institute and Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, and is funded by Natural England.

The project is structured around four complementary components:

1. Identifying and mapping Regional Farm and Rural Support Groups (RFRSGs) and similar group

We will perform a web search to assess and map the geographical coverage of existing RFSGs and similar groups in England. Survey data from stage 2 of the work will be used build heatmaps that will help identify potential gaps in capacity to engage with Green Finance markets.

Groups that wish to, will be given the option to be referenced in a mapped register of Regional Farm and Rural Support Groups (RFRSGs) and similar groups.

This work will take place between October 2023 and February 2024.

2. Survey of RFRSGs and similar groups

This component aims to characterise RFRSGs and similar groups and assess their capacity to act as aggregators in Green Finance markets.

An invitation link to the online survey will be sent to RFRSGs by email at the beginning of November 2023.

This work will take place between November and December 2023.

3. Case studies

We will then interview a sample of RFRSGs and similar groups to gain a deeper understanding of experiences with Green Finance.

Participants will be contacted by email and invited to take part in an online or telephone interview to discuss their groups’ experience and readiness for Green Finance and relating funding opportunities.

Interviews and analysis will take place between January and February 2024.

4. Knowledge exchange and outputs

We will make leaflets of case study summaries and a research briefing available, and will organise a research webinar in March 2024.

We will make publicly available publications available here.