Charlie Nunn meets our clients at Newlyns Farm to hear how they’re adapting to different opportunities, sustainability in farming, and the part they play in their local community.

Charlie Nunn
25 September 2023
8 min read

Charlie meets: farming our future

Video | 8 min

At Lloyds Banking Group, we're proud to be the biggest bank for farmers, lending £550m to UK agriculture businesses last year. Farming and agriculture plays a pivotal role in UK food security, environmental and land management, sustainable communities and employment.

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What are the current challenges that farmers are facing? [01:13]

Farmers have been affected by significant rises in the cost of essentials, such as electricity and fertiliser. While prices have now come down somewhat, they’re not yet back to where they were.

Since coming out of the European Union and the Common Agricultural Policy, the UK Government is providing financial support under its Sustainable Farming Incentive framework. Programmes such as the Countryside Stewardship Scheme also incentivise environmental action, such as protecting no-intervention areas of wild grassland or hedgerow, to improve biodiversity.   

However, farmers continue to face uncertainty around their sources of income and costs.

 

 

"The first thing about beingsustainable is being profitable so that we're here for the future."

 

Why are we supporting sustainable farming? [03:08]

Historically, farmers have always had an active interest in looking after their environment, but there is now greater focus than ever on sustainability. There is a balance to be achieved, where farmers can produce food for the country as well as looking after the country itself.

Farmers are finding new ways to help support greater sustainability, and making investments to protect resilience for their business and environment.  For example, generating energy through biomass boilers and CHP (combined heat and power). Newlyns is a mixed-use farm, which captures cyclical benefits from both livestock and arable. The cows are out at grass in the summer, grazing fields which will later be planted. They are housed inside during the winter, producing manure which is then used on the crops and enriches the soil overtime.

There is growing recognition of the important role that farmers can increasingly play in carbon capture, flood prevention, and nutrient neutrality, through protecting soil quality and structure.

Lloyds Bank has a partnership with Soil Association Exchange, through which Newlyns have accessed an holistic sustainability assessment, including a carbon score, in order to see if and where they could increase the sustainability of their farming practices.

 

 

"It's great to have that benchmark that we can assess ourselves on, and work out ways we can improve it."


How are the UK’s farms managing uncertainty and making the most of new opportunities? [05:31]

Farmers are experienced at dealing with uncertainty and being entrepreneurial. Newlyns diversified their business and opened a farm shop in 2004, which has since expanded to include a cookery school and café.

Most of the produce sold or served at Newlyns comes directly from the farm or from the local area. The farm shop has been an important outlet for many local producers, whose businesses have been supported to grow alongside the shop.

At Newlyns, the family have been on the farm for four generations. They’ve put down roots, while growing and adapting their businesses to navigate challenges and seize new opportunities, and provide employment and apprenticeships for their local community.

 

 

"Lots of local businesses have grown
up producing food, and we're an outlet for them."

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About the author Charlie Nunn, Group Chief Executive

Charlie has over 25 years’ experience in the financial services sector. Prior to joining the Group in August 2021, Charlie held a range of leadership positions at HSBC, including Global Chief Executive, Wealth and Personal Banking, and Group Head of Wealth Management and Digital, as well as Global Chief Operating Officer of Retail Banking and Wealth Management.

Charlie began his career at Accenture, where he worked for 13 years in the US, France, Switzerland and the UK before being made a Partner. He then moved to McKinsey & Co. as a Senior Partner, leading on projects for five years.

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Supporting our agricultural clients

We’re here to support our agriculture clients in their transition journey:

  • Our specialist agriculture relationship managers have extensive training, including a tailored course delivered in partnership with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, and bespoke training to deliver our partnership with Soil Association Exchange.
  • Relationship Managers stay close to what’s happening in the sector and what’s important to clients through farm visits and round tables, as well as through weekly webinars and question time events.
  • We've lowered the lending limit on our Clean Growth Finance Initiative to include borrowing below £25,000 for agriculture, so that smaller farms can access more manageable finance to fund things like improvements to soil health and peatland protection.
  • Beyond our Clean Financing Growth Initiative, we provide discounted finance for initiatives that make farms more sustainable, with one percentage point margin discount lending available on loans of up to £50,000.


Our partnerships

Soil Association Exchange (SAX)

We’ve partnered with Soil Association Exchange (SAX). Under this, we are working with our largest farmers to provide access to in-person sustainability consultancy from SAX.

The consultancy captures data on soil quality, emissions, animal health and welfare, water, biodiversity, and social credentials, creating a report which farmers use to create an action plan, and then check progress. We’ve also created a free to use App which provides farms with a ‘self-serve’ option allowing them to baseline their own farm and it provides recommendations and hints and tips.

Woodland Trust

We are three years into a decade-long partnership with the Woodland Trust to plant 10m native trees across the UK by 2030.

As part of this partnership we also fund the MOREwoods and MOREhedges schemes, which provide farmers and landowners with funding for planting 0.5 hectares or more of new woodland.

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