About us

We pay out over £2 billion each year to support a thriving farming and food sector, supporting agricultural and rural communities to create a better place to live.

As the only accredited paying agency in England, we make payments to farmers, traders and land owners. We also make payments on behalf of Natural England, and manage over 40 schemes to help ensure we have a healthy rural economy and strong rural communities.

Who we are

A dispersed team based in offices across England, including Reading, Carlisle, Exeter, Newcastle, Workington and York. We employ around 2,300 staff, many of whom live in the communities we serve.


We’re responsible for:

  • measures to boost the productivity of the farming industry,
  • helping to assure the provenance of our food, and contribute to the control of disease in livestock, through the monitoring of cattle movement and inspections of abattoirs and meat cutting plants,
  • delivery of subsidies and other payments to support our farming and food industry and incentivise environmental outcomes,
  • supporting innovation through grants and management of various funding schemes, helping to boost the rural economy,
  • providing import and export licenses for the agri-food sector,
  • providing subsidies to encourage uptake of milk in schools,
  • supporting free flow of trade through provision of certificates of free sale,
  • helping to regulate the markets for dairy and farm produce,
  • helping to boost the rural economy through rural development schemes and management of various funding schemes, such as the roll-out of super-fast rural broadband,
  • managing customer contact for a wide range of Defra group services,
  • emergency support through sector intervention and crisis support.


Corporate information

Access our information

Jobs and contracts

Read about the types of information we routinely publish in our Publication scheme. Find out about our commitment to Welsh language scheme. Our Personal information charter explains how we treat your personal information.