Farmers and growers in England can apply for up to £500,000 in Government funding from today to invest in cutting edge robotics and technology to boost food production.
Grants ranging from £35,000 up to £500,000 are available to invest in productivity-boosting equipment such as driverless tractors, robots that harvest, spray crops and weed, and automated milking systems.
The new scheme, worth £25 million in total, is the latest instalment of the Farming Investment Fund – an umbrella fund which opened in November and is designed to increase productivity on farms. It’s part of the Government’s Agricultural Transition Plan – the biggest changes to farming in more than 50 years, which will reward farmers and landowners for actions which benefit the environment, supporting sustainable food production alongside vital nature recovery and work towards net zero.
The application window for the Improving Farm Productivity theme of the Farming Investment Fund has opened today. Farmers and agricultural contractors are being urged to take advantage of this opportunity to apply for grants to buy new equipment and infrastructure to improve efficiency and help us build back greener. Further themed grants will open later this year.
Farmers will also be able to apply for grants towards new slurry management systems. They can purchase equipment that lowers the acid in slurry which in turn increases the nutrients for plants and reduces ammonia emissions and pollution. This will contribute to the 25 Year Environment Plan, Clean Air Strategy, and Government commitments to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Farming Minister Victoria Prentis said:
“We know how important it is for farmers to identify opportunities that maximise productivity and yields. These grants are aimed at contributing towards the purchase of new and green equipment that can bring a positive change to the day to day operation of a farm, as well as the wider environment.
“This specific fund has a two-month application window, and I encourage everyone in the sector to take a look at eligibility and fund details.”
Rural Payments Agency Chief Executive Paul Caldwell said:
“If you are a farm owner and are planning to invest in your business to increase productivity in an environmentally sustainable way, this fund may be suited to your needs.
“There is a wide variety of equipment and systems farmers can apply for though the Farming Investment Fund, and our new online eligibility checker is designed to make your application process even faster and easier.”
The farming industry will play a crucial role in helping this Government reach its Net Zero ambitions and today’s announcement builds on a series of commitments in the Net Zero Strategy. This includes a £124 million boost to the Nature for Climate Fund, helping meet commitments to restore approximately 280,000 hectares of peat in England by 2050 and treble woodland creation in England by the end of this Parliament.
Farmers are also able to access business support through the Farming Resilience Fund. The fund awards grants to organisations so that they can support farmers and land managers who are in receipt of Basic Payment Scheme payments.