George Eustice announces £12.5m fund that could boost pea and bean production

Defra secretary George Eustice has announced funding for research projects aimed at boosting farmers’ businesses and helping improve the environmental impact of farming.

The recent Food Strategy committed to spending £270 million on research and development in the Farming Innovation Programme (FIP) up to 2029, and Eustice confirmed that in July, £12.5m from the FIP will be set aside for research and development focused on ‘sustainable farm-based proteins’.

In partnership with UKRI, the funding will be made available for farmers, growers, businesses and academics to collaborate on projects that seek to improve the efficiency and sustainability of farm-based protein production, including protein crops like beans and peas and traditional livestock production, in order to help boost domestic production of healthy and sustainable food.

This might be achieved through the development of new methane-reducing feeds and supplements, or the breeding of new sustainable and resilient crops and livestock, Eustice added.

The Defra secretary also showcased an example of innovative technology that is helping farmers capture the methane from slurry stores and turn it into biomethane, creating an additional income stream for farmers. Bennamann in Truro, Cornwall has pioneered this approach building on world-leading science to help livestock farms of any size to cover their manure slurry lagoons, capture the fugitive emissions they produce, establish energy independence and improve business profitability through lower bills and sales of high-value biomethane.