At the moment, with all the CAP reshuffling there are lots of discussions going on nationally about future funding. From the New Environmental Land Management schemes (or whatever acronym is found to be the winner), the new rural development budgets and other schemes yet to be finalised, there is a sense of unease about what will be possible in the future. However for those farmers who are still interested in developing a project on-farm that increases productivity, or sustainability (or hopefully the two together!) there are a couple of options that are still out there that may be worth considering. The schemes that are open at the moment, all have different entry requirements and timescales, so although I will put a bit of information about them below, if you are interested do make sure that you follow the links and get some more details.
EBLEX Farmer Innovation Grants
This new grant is available for groups of beef or sheep farmers who feel that they have an innovative idea that you feel could improve the profitability of a beef or sheep enterprise.
EBLEX is offering up to 6 awards in 2014 to support groups of farmers wanting to adopt and evaluate an element of best practice on their farm or try out a new piece of technology.
How much is available? The funding is made over a one year period and will generally have a ceiling of £5,000. The funding allows groups of farmers to access technical help to set up their project and cover some of the associated costs. One of the conditions of the funding is that a report will be provided to EBLEX so that lessons can be communicated to other levy payers.
Who can apply? All English beef and sheep farmers are welcome to apply. There should be at least three farmers in a group and this maybe supported by a supply chain partner, vet practice or breed society.
Timescale – the grant window is open until 31st March 2014
How do you apply? To request a FIG form, email
or call 0870 2418829
FFIS is a grant scheme within RDPE, aimed at helping farmers, foresters, farming contractors, woodland owners and horticultural businesses in England to improve the competitiveness through investment that meets one of the objectives. These objectives include reduced energy use, improved management of manures and farm nutrients, improved water resource management, improved animal health and welfare, and improved use of forestry resources.
How much is available? Up to £35,000 of grant is available per farm business at a 40% funding rate (non SDA areas) or a 50% funding rate (SDA). The minimum amount of grant is £2,500.
Projects must be completed and grant claimed by 31st January 2015.
There are five different priorities for FFIS, each with its own set of requriements in terms of the application process and supporting statements needed. What each priority will fund is set, so what you want to install needs to be on the list of approved items. Check the applicant handbook for further details.
Energy Efficiency – the priority is for investment in technologies that recover or reduce energy consumption on farm resulting in a reduction of farm energy bills and the farm’s carbon footprint. This could include heat exchangers, variable speed pumps or voltage optimisers.
Nutrient management – investment in and the adoption of practices that improve the nutrient management of slurries and manures leading to improvements in soil and land management practices, reduced reliance on fertiliser and a reduction in the cost of production.
Water resource management – investment in items that reduce the reliance of farms and horticultural businesses on mains water or bore hole water through harvesting, recycling and reuse of rainwater.
Animal health and welfare – funding items that improve the health and welfare of farm animals.
Forestry – aimed at improving the economic value of forests through improved processing and adding value.
Timescale – the grant window is open from 4th February until the 4th April
How do you apply? – Click here to access the applicant’s handbook and download the application form.
Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) was introduced to help land managers to tackle diffuse pollution through the provision of advice and targeted incentive schemes. Capital items are funded to help farmers to address specific pollution risks.
Who can apply? Farmers have to be in a CSF target area. These target areas have key pollutants that have been identified and set out within each priority catchment. There are associated Funding Priority Statements that correspond with each area and set out the details.
How much is available? Up to £10,000 per farm business at a 50% grant rate. For different projects the standard costs are available in the handbook and are taken as set costs, so there is no need to assemble quotes for different items.
Timescale – the grant window is open from 1st February until the 31st March 2014.
How do you apply? – all the info on the different target areas and how to apply is on the Natural England website here.
This new fund has been designed to support activities that reduce the consequences of the recent severe flooding on agricultural land and help restore its physical capital.
What is able to be funded? Areas include the restoration of productive grassland, arable and horticultural land, the restoration of field access and trackways, and improvements to agricultural drainage on flood damaged land.
How much is available? Grants are between £500 and £5,000 and are available to any farm directly affected by recent flood events (since 1st Dec 2013).
Timescale – the fund opened on 28th February 2014 and will close on 9th May 2014.
How do you apply? – for more information download the guidance here.
So for the moment, while we wait to see what the future CAP and RDPE looks like, these are the options out there. If you have installed something on your farm that is making a difference in terms of making your farming system more sustainable, or making better use of inputs, do get in touch and let us know.