Farmers looking to take advantage of new grant funding opportunities around farm productivity and diversification are being urged to act now ahead of the scheme opening.
The new Farming Investment Fund is set to provide grants to farmers to invest in equipment, technology, and infrastructure that will improve profitability and the environment.
The fund will open in October and will include two strands – being the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund and the Farming Transformation Fund.
Agricultural and property consultancy Fisher German has urged farmers to ‘act now’ to put plans in motion and make the most of the opportunity.
Grants from the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund will be available towards the purchase cost of a list of specified, pre-determined items.
Grants can be awarded for the purchase of multiple items that are deemed to improve farm productivity, manage water resources or add value to agri-food.
The Farming Transformation Fund’s grants will be available towards the cost of more substantial investments in equipment, technology, or infrastructure, with the potential to transform business performance.
Applications will be assessed against their ability to contribute towards the Farming Transformation Fund scheme objectives, which could include making more efficient use of water or using nutrients and pesticides more effectively.
David Kinnersley, of Fisher German, said: “While it may be all too easy to concentrate on the decreasing BPS payments, we are urging farmers to consider new grant funding opportunities.
“The new Farming Investment Fund will begin to open in October this year, so farming businesses should begin thinking, planning and discussing potential projects which could add value to their current farming operations now.”
The BPS reductions witnessed in 2021 will be the lowest set of reductions across the next six to seven year period as the government plans a gradual phasing out of these payments.
Although the payments are decreasing, the overall funding is remaining constant until 2024 and the Farming Investment Fund is one way in which the government intends to redirect funding away from BPS.
Mr Kinnersley said this bought farming businesses time to make alterations to their current business plans in order to add value, reduce cost and drive revenue.
Charlie Fowler, also of Fisher German, added that future grant funding presented a ‘fantastic opportunity’ for farming businesses looking to improve their productivity.
He said they should be utilised as seed capital to help propel businesses through the difficult period which lied ahead and build foundations for future years.
“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,” he added.