Soils For Sugar


Bury and Cantley Beet Group members will benefit from a new, inspiring project, funded through Defra’s Resilience Programme, which will develop sugar beet farming systems in the future.

The Soils for Sugar Project will boost growth through reviewing and benchmarking farm businesses and other general cropping businesses in the East of England.

It will provide practical guidance on how to respond to the changes highlighted in the Agricultural Transition plan, the impact of climate change and requirements to reduce carbon emissions.

The project will support the members farm businesses through 1:1 and group topic-based seminars to achieve sustainable, long term viability through:

  • Seeking to identify “best practice” for the purpose of sugar beet production in the area members operate, with respect to the “Protection of Soils”
  • Providing a benchmarking service delivered by the Rural Business Unit (RBU) at the University of Cambridge, using the Defra-funded Farm Business Survey.
  • Improving productivity.
  • Developing ways of preserving natural capital (as a minimum), improving biodiversity, and identifying ways of carbon counting
  • Identifying alternative opportunities and income streams.
  • Identifying future revenue grant funding opportunities.
  • Providing the “Golden Ticket” for future capital grant funding

The programme will also enable beet growers across the two counties to forge even stronger links and develop new contacts, sharing valuable knowledge and expertise.

Between now and 2027 Defra will reduce and, eventually, stop direct support payments. This means farm businesses will no longer receive broadacre subsidies. Coupled with the uncertainty over climate change, it is essential that sugar beet growers manage land to become more sustainable and develop new commercial income streams for their business.

However, this presents new exciting opportunities. Which is why Anglia Rural Consultants (ARC), the University of Cambridge’s Rural Business Unit, Suffolk Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group and Wright Solutions have created a unique partnership, to support sugar beet growers in Suffolk and Norfolk.

The project has been registered with BASIS and points they will be awarded for your participation across different sections of the project.


This experienced team of experts, led by Jamie Gwatkin, an award-winning rural consultant, sugar beet specialist, ARC member and your group administrator – have a mission. The mission is to provide professional advice and support to the beet groups, through this free, tailor-made programme which will help growers demonstrate their “Sustainability credentials” and build greater viability for the future.

Funded entirely by Defra, the Soils for Sugar Project will run from July 2021 to February 2022 and includes:

  • Provision of a benchmarking service to identify the needs of members of the two sugar beet groups. This service will quantify any business issues and provide valuable recommendations to improve your farm business.
  • One to one advice from expert rural business advisers, to help create a business plan which will improve productivity, resilience, and sustainability.
  • A programme of inspiring webinars, face-to-face seminars and workshops providing in depth knowledge on important topics such as soil management, biodiversity and carbon counting, as well as grant funding opportunities to aid diversification and productivity.
  • An action plan which can be used to support Productivity Grant applications.

If your organisation would like to benefit from ARC’s Training, Coaching and Mentoring services:

Email: or Phone: 07831 208 963