There are 4 weeks remaining for farmers to apply for funding under the second round of the Defra Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme. The window for application closes on 3rd September 2019.
The small grant scheme provides farmers in England the opportunity to apply for grants of between £3,000 and £12,000 to invest in specific agricultural equipment, from a list of around 80 items. The equipment is hoped to improve technical efficiency, animal health & welfare, resource efficiency or nutrient management. The scheme itself has been put in place to encourage the purchase of new equipment to improve farmers’ business resilience whilst helping the industry become more environmentally sustainable.
The scheme grants will cover up to 40% of the total equipment costs- except in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly where this figure rises to 50%. Therefore, equipment from the list that costs between £7,500 and £30,000 can be 40% funded. IN addition, multiple pieces of equipment can be included within the same application to hit the right figures.
The government is clear in its manifesto to support farmers to become more self-reliant in a time where future funding due to political debate is under a cloud. At the same time, the expectation is that all farm impact on the environment is reduced including the effect on water, soil, air quality and of course the carbon footprint.
This year’s scheme sees 26 new items added to the list of equipment suitable for funding in 2018, including portable ammonia analysers, nitrogen-measuring devices for calculating fertiliser application for crops, cover crop rollers, robotic slurry pushers, vaccination guns and in the shadow of the atrocious livestock slaughters throughout the midlands, cameras for monitoring livestock and EID panel readers for sheep & cattle to automatically identify individual animals.
The scheme involves a single online application process for anyone registered with the Rural Payments Service, with standardised pricing for all items, of which Defra will pay 40% to successful scheme applicants within 30 days of proof of purchase being received.
Successful applicants will have 150 days from the funding agreement to order, pay for and take delivery of their funded equipment. Therefore, it is worth speaking to suppliers to ensure the delivery window can be hit prior to applying and placing the order. Cash flow allowances must be made for the payment window as a claim can only be made after the equipment has been bought and paid for. Claims must include an itemised invoice from the supplier and copies of bank statements showing payment.
Funding must be agreed prior to any order being placed to be eligible for the grant scheme. Once a grant has been agreed, it will only apply to the specific equipment noted within it and cannot be used against other equipment- even if the replacement items are on the eligible list. Additionally, if an application is made for multiple items, all items must be purchased to receive the grant.
This scheme constitutes round two of the grant funding. Those who applied in round one are eligible for a second application, but the total value of both applications must not be more than £12,000.
For support through the application process, to discuss eligibility and how this scheme may be a support to you and your business, in the first instance, please contact:
Josh Peat at the Rugby office on 01788 564687 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Pinny at the Towcester office on 01327 353575 / andrew.pinny@ howkinsandharrison.co.uk
Ella Darby at the Ashby de la Zouch office on 01530 877977 or Atherstone on 01827 718021 / ella.darby@ howkinsandharrison.co.uk