Farmers in England who are considering investing in equipment and technology to raise productivity or adopt climate-friendly farming techniques are advised to start their research now, so they are ready for the opening of the Farming Investment Fund application window.
Defra is planning for the fund to open in October and given the scheme is likely to be popular it will be sensible for farmers to act quickly.
This grant funding is an excellent opportunity for farmers and rural business owners in England who want to invest in specific pieces of agricultural equipment that can increase the productivity of their farming business.
The Farming Investment Fund covers two streams of grant support.
The first is the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF) which will be based on the existing Countryside Productivity Small Grant Scheme (CPSGS).
The scheme will have an online application process, with the range of eligible items available set out in a scheme handbook.
Although the guidance notes detailing exactly what equipment will be eligible have not yet been published, farmers can get a decent idea of the items that are likely to be eligible by looking at the CPSGS handbook from the last application round.
It is then worth talking to manufacturers to get a sense of lead-in times and payment terms – whilst remembering the rules have always been that you must not order or buy any of the items before you have received confirmation that a grant application has been approved.
All the items included in the scheme have been identified as ones that will help farmers achieve improvements in either animal welfare, resource efficiency, nutrient management or technical efficiency.
Defra has said new items are being added in to the previous list of eligible items, so there should be something for all farm types including livestock, horticulture and arable businesses.
The minimum grant available is expected to be £3,000 up to a maximum of £12,000, which covers up to 40% of the standard cost of each item.
Farming Transformation Fund
Defra is also expected to open the Farming Transformation Fund which is designed to support larger more complicated investments. This will be based on the Countryside Productivity Large Grant scheme.
If you are interested in applying for either funding stream, please contact your local rural office and ask to be added to a list so we can notify you as soon as the grant is available for applications.