Defra has announced a new round of grant funding under the Forestry and Farming Improvement Scheme, aimed at improving the competitiveness of farming businesses by more efficient use of natural resources.
Grant aid is available to improve nutrient management, energy efficiency, water management, animal health and welfare and forestry.
“The new round of FFIS opened on February 4 and is only open for two months, so time is running out,” said Ewan Harris, of Smiths Gore’s Wooler office.
“This is quite a tight window of opportunity, but with grants of between £2,500 and £35,000 available, farmers, landowners and contractors need to give this serious thought.
“Grant rates are up to 40 per cent of project costs in lowland areas and 50 per cent in upland areas, so there is funding available to assist significant projects.”
A wide range of equipment may be eligible for grant funding including heat exchangers, variable-speed vacuum pumps, roofing of slurry and silage stores, soil-mapping analysis software, rainwater-harvesting equipment, mobile-handling systems, upgrading cattle crushes, etc.
Ewan added: “Most farming businesses will identify something within FFIS which will help the efficiency of their business.”
The selection process for FFIS is competitive and applications must include two years’ trading accounts and quotes for equipment together with justification of how the equipment will improve resource utilisation.
Completed application forms have to be emailed to Defra by April 4.
The application process has been designed to be user-friendly and an applicant’s handbook is available on the RDPE website.