Supporting sustainable agriculture

Funding farming to help tackle climate change.

More than £7 million has been awarded to 517 rural businesses in 2023 from the Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS). 

Overall, £27m will be paid over the lifetime of the contracts to applicants, to help support land management activities that will benefit nature and mitigate against climate change.

Farmers can now apply for the 2024/25 AECS funding round, with an expanded range of options to support biodiversity and climate friendly farming activities and land management practices.

More than £4 million will also be made available to fund slurry storage and irrigation lagoons in order to improve water quality in rural areas. Farmers and land managers can now apply for larger funding grants with an additional uplift available to those based in Island communities. This will be the final year that support will be available for slurry storage.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:

“AECS remains a key part of support to farmers, crofters, and land managers in delivering nature restoration and addressing the twin challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss. 

“This year all eligible applications to AECS were approved which is a record approval rate. This shows that despite significant financial pressures, farmers and land managers still recognise the very real need to mitigate against both nature loss and climate change.

“I would strongly encourage farmers and crofters to apply for the expanded range of options that the scheme now supports. This approach will give farmers and land managers greater flexibility when it comes to helping improve our landscape to mitigate against nature loss.”

Francesca Osowska, Chief Executive of NatureScot said: 

“Scotland's farmers and crofters play a vital role in tackling the nature-climate crisis.  By successfully using their knowledge and skills to farm in a nature-friendly way, they ensure that their businesses are sustainable for the future, both environmentally and economically.  

"AECS funding is an important investment in sustainable farming in Scotland, with about 20% of our land being managed for nature and climate benefits under the scheme.  

Supporting farmers and crofters to farm with nature has both local and global impacts, including supporting wildlife, healthy soils and clean water while helping Scotland meet national and international targets to reduce biodiversity loss and tackle climate change.” 


The Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS) was launched in 2015. The scheme helps to promote land management practices which protect and enhance Scotland’s natural heritage, improve water quality, manage flood risk and mitigate and adapt to climate change. Some examples of the activities that AECS supports include:

  • Helping agricultural businesses convert to organic farming practices
  • Creation and maintenance of habitats for specific species such as corncrakes, corn buntings and waders
  • Improving habitat variety
  • Creation and restoration of hedgerows
  • Control of invasive non-native species

Funding for the slurry storage and irrigation lagoon options has been underpinned by the Agricultural Transformation Fund (ATF).


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