The Farming Investment Fund is now open providing an opportunity for farmers and landowners to take advantage of new grant funding opportunities to drive farm productivity, improve water management and add value to agricultural produce.
The fund is split into two strands:
1. Farming Equipment & Technology Fund (FETF) - **Round 1**
Application window closes on 7 January 2022
The first round of FETF offers support to businesses allowing them to invest in equipment and technology to improve sustainable agricultural, horticultural and forestry productivity. The grant will be available towards the purchase cost of a list of specified, pre-determined items offering payments between £2,000 and £25,000. These payment bands are not based on the amount a business spends and there are set funding amounts for specific items.
The items available to apply for have been categorised into the below areas:
- Improve agricultural productivity
- Contribute to improved Animal Health and Welfare
- Encourage more sustainable pesticide usage
- Improve air and water quality
- Reduce GHG emissions in line with Net Zero targets
- Reduce unsustainable use of abstracted water
- Encourage sustainable management of woodlands
Fisher German’s Agribusiness Consultancy team is encouraging farmers and landowners to apply for the scheme if they are considering any projects which may align themselves with the categories.
Charlie Fowler, of Fisher German, said: “This scheme follows similar principles to the former Countryside Productivity Small Grants Scheme, however the minimum grant value has reduced to £2,000 and the maximum grant value has increased to £25,000.
“Businesses can apply for a total of £50,000 over the scheme’s duration, for example if there were two rounds they could apply for £25,000 in each round. We have already received enquiries from businesses looking to purchase direct drills which the grant offers £25,000 towards and in row weeders which the scheme offers £24,000 towards.”
2. Farming Transformation Fund (FTF)
Application window closes on 12 January 2022
The FTF provides grants for more substantial projects which require a greater capital investment allowing eligible beneficiaries to invest in their businesses to improve productivity, profitability and enhance environmental sustainability.
The fund looks to address three key themes:
|Theme||Grant funding available||Potential projects|
|Water Management||Minimum Grant - £35,000
Maximum Grant - £500,000
Grant Intervention – 40% of eligible costs
Remaining 60% to be privately fundedMinimum Eligible cost of a project would therefore be approx. £87,500
Irrigation equipment –
|Improving Farm Productivity||
The Improving Farm Productivity grant opens later this year for applications. Grant funding amounts are expected to be similar to that of the Water Management option above and focussed on robotic farm technology improvements.
|Adding Value||The Adding Value grant opens early next year for applications. The grant is expected to fund any projects which may improve storage and processing facilities.|
The FTF includes a two-stage application process involving online eligibility checks on individual projects which, if successful, will lead to a full grant application. Applications will be assessed against their ability to contribute towards the scheme objectives, which include making more efficient use of water or using nutrients and pesticides more effectively.
Charlie added: “The grant funding being offered is an excellent opportunity for farmers and growers to obtain public funding to subsidise investments in infrastructure and machinery. As BPS income tightens this is an ideal opportunity allowing on farm improvements to continue, enabling greater production efficiencies to be achieved.
“We would urge any business looking to take advantage of the new grant funding to seek expert advice to discuss the viability of future projects and set any potential lengthy processes, such as applying for planning permission, in motion in order to make the most of this opportunity.
“The Rural Payments Agency has confirmed these grants are open until the middle of January 2022 and applications will be processed on a competitive basis based on which projects provide best value for taxpayers’ money.
“With the tight deadlines in mind, we would encourage businesses to contact us with any projects to discuss eligibility. This includes any projects which may fall under the two schemes which are yet to open, either adding value or improving productivity as the deadlines for these two future schemes are expected to be just as tight.”
Should you wish to receive further information about the new grant schemes including the list of items eligible under the FETF, please contact the agribusiness team.