Funding of up to £3,700 is now available to all Scottish farmers through the Farm Advisory Service to help them access tailored and specialist advice from farm advisors.
Strutt & Parker’s farm consultancy team would be pleased to talk to anyone who would like to take advantage of the funding options while they are in place.
They are designed to enable farming businesses to increase profitability and sustainability, ultimately becoming more resilient within an ever-changing rural sector.
The options include:
Integrated Land Management Plans
Integrated Land Management Plans (ILMPs) enable farm advisors to provide a detailed, confidential analysis of a farm business, informing the farmer of business strengths and opportunities, alongside any weaknesses and external market threats.
Both a report and plan are produced, providing advice on how to address any current or future concerns, and how to take advantage of opportunities identified. Overall, ILMPs provide a farm business with the building blocks required to achieve their business goals. Up to 80% percent of the total ILMP cost is claimable, up to a maximum value of £1,200.
Further specialist advice
Funding to source specialist advice for a choice of 13 different farm business topics is also available.
These include carbon audit action plans, which is the next step following a carbon audit; organic farming; soil and nutrient management; and farm business efficiency. Farmers can select two of these options, with funding of £1,000 available for each topic. Applicants are not required to have undertaken an ILMP or have an ILMP in place to access the topic funding.
If farmers have already claimed funding for an ILMP or any specialist advice options, prior to 1 April 2022, the amount of funding available will not be restricted, as the funding history will be reset to zero.
Mentoring for new entrants
New entrants or someone who has become head of a current farm business, during the previous five years, can access up to four days of free support from a farm advisor to help build strong foundations for their business. Support can range from helping to create a cashflow budget, providing guidance on cross compliance, or assisting with subsidy applications.
Farming businesses can also apply for a maximum of £500 to have a carbon audit carried out by a farm advisor. We would strongly encourage all farmers to have a carbon audit done, particularly given the direction of travel for future support payments towards enhanced environmental conditionality.
The Scottish Government’s launch of the Preparing for Sustainable Farming programme, earlier this spring places a requirement on farmers to have had a carbon audit carried out in order to be eligible for the new funding. This fresh programme allows farmers to claim funding for soil sampling and analysis of up to 20% of their region one land, with a payment rate of £30/ha. A minimum grant amount of £300 is in place to ensure that those farms with less than 50ha of region one land will also benefit.
Additionally, a one-time-only development payment of £250 is available to encourage farmers towards spending time researching soil nutrient management for personal development. However, eligibility criteria for these options require farmers to confirm that they have a carbon audit aligning with both PAS 2050 standards and completed within the previous three years.
We would be delighted to discuss how we can help your business to succeed by accessing these informative and functional funding options. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Farm Consultancy Team – Mary Munro and Nicky Campbell, located in our Edinburgh Office, Stephen Whiteford of our Inverness office and Hamish Dunbar-Nasmith in our Banchory office. Further information on the schemes can be found on the Farm Advisory Service (FAS) website.
You can also join the farming team on Friday 24 June at the Royal Highland Show on the Strutt & Parker stand for a breakfast talk (9.30am) on farming innovation, including vertical farming. For more details contact Stephen Whiteford.