Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Farmers urged to apply for productivity funding

October 1, 2018 by  
Filed under News & Business

Growers and livestock producers are being reminded to apply for funding under the Improving Farm Productivity scheme before it closes in December.

The highly-regarded funding option, which is available under the countryside productivity stream of the European Union’s rural development programme, is due to close for applications on 3 December.

Katie Hilton, associate at rural business advisers Cheffins, said: “This application window represents a final opportunity – at least for the time being – to take advantage of these large funding pots ahead of Brexit.”

The programme has seen unprecedented numbers of applications for their growth programme and countryside productivity schemes as farmers seek to tap into EU funds while they are still available ahead of Brexit.

Niche grants include robotic equipment to aid crop and livestock production; and increasing the use of renewable energy produced on-farm by improving storage and distribution and more efficient use of livestock slurries and manures, and digestate.

Innovative technologies

Grant funding can help pay for buying and installing machinery and equipment. But overall project cost must be higher than £87,500. The fund aims to increase the uptake of innovative technologies to improve productivity while reducing the environmental impact of agriculture.

Successful examples of use of the Improving Farm Productivity Fund include; investment in robotic weeders to carry out intra-row wedding; the purchase of battery storage or the acquisition of large-scale slurry application equipment.

The Rural Payments Agency is expected to open a new round of funding for the Countryside Productivity Small Grants Scheme this autumn. But it will be for specific pieces of farm equipment and not larger-scale projects.

Ms Hilton saod: “These funding streams as a whole have been all about making it easier for farmers and agricultural businesses to embrace technology and innovation. It makes sense for each farming business to take a look at what is still on offer.”

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