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Following DEFRA’s launch of the new round of the Farming Innovation Programme, Fisher German’s Head of Agribusiness David Kinnersley discusses what this means for farm businesses and how Fisher German can support applicants:

With the news that farmers and foresters can apply for funding from the Farming Innovation Programme towards innovative methods and technology that can solve major issues in the industry, farm businesses now have the opportunity to unlock additional capital that can not only assist them with their objectives, but could help similar businesses around the country too.

Adding value to products on-farm and reducing reliance on commodity markets are important factors to consider, and this latest phase of the Farming Transformation Fund, announced by DEFRA and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), offers scope to develop enterprises on-farm which are less reliant on external markets and potentially less volatile.

This financial “leg-up” to accessing innovative methods and technology has the potential to encourage growth and development of the farm business through diversification and an increased commitment to sustainable practices.

If you’re interested in utilising this scheme to the benefit of your farm business, you must be able to show how the project will benefit farmers, growers or foresters in England, as well as committing to a competitive two-stage application process.

Expressions of Interest (EOI) to the first stage must be submitted by 6 July 2022 with the second stage opening in August 2022 for those that have been successful.
Project costs are not required at the EOI stage, but for an idea on the scale of the project you need to present later on, total project costs at the full stage must be listed at between £28,000 and £56,000.

The application process is detailed and lengthy, so please do a rigorous appraisal and consider the right route to take for the farm business. Don’t let the potential financial grant cloud your thinking – prioritise your vision and ensure the grant fits into your plan, not the other way round.

Our Agribusiness team, which operates across Fisher German’s 25 offices in the UK, can use our extensive experience to advise you on the core business concept you are considering and your plan to submit for funding consideration. We can then assist you in putting together the grant application and incorporate this into your business plan.

And if larger projects that are being submitted require planning permission, our planning team will be able to help you through the process.

It is crucial that farmers or foresters looking to apply get informed advice from the start to increase their chances of success, so we would encourage anyone interested to get in touch.

You can find more information about the investment scheme here