Farmers will benefit from a £27 million pot to adopt innovative new technology and invest in productivity-boosting equipment as the Farming Investment Fund opens today (Tuesday 16 November).
From today farmers, foresters and growers from across England are urged to apply for grants to buy new equipment and infrastructure to help to improve efficiency and help us build back greener. This could include solar powered electric fences, water treatment systems that use ultraviolet light rather than chemicals and cameras for monitoring livestock.
The fund will be split across two strands. Firstly, the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund will focus on smaller grants for equipment from a set list, including electronic seeders and chemical-free disinfection systems. Secondly, the Farming Transformation Fund will cover more substantial technology, with the potential to transform business performance. This strand will focus initially on water management with grants available to improve water use on farms for things like crop irrigation and constructing on-farm reservoirs.
Farming Minister, Victoria Prentis said:
“I’m pleased to offer support to eligible farmers through the new Farming Investment Fund to invest in technology and infrastructure to boost productivity and deliver environmental benefits
“Investing in new technology and equipment on farm has a real impact on productivity and yields, as well as a benefit for the environment as we build on the historic commitments of COP 26.”
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.
As set out in the Agricultural Transition Plan, the Government is also introducing a range of reforms to incentivise sustainable farming practices, rewarding farmers for producing public goods such as better air and water quality, protecting wildlife, soil health and animal welfare.
As Direct Payments are phased out over the 7 year agricultural transition, the Government has committed to offer financial assistance to support farmers to invest in their businesses to improve their productivity, manage the environment sustainably and deliver other public goods.
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.
Rural Payments Agency Chief Executive Paul Caldwell said:
“Innovation and technology have a real-life impact across the farming sector, so I’m delighted to be able to help unlock this potential for many farmers through the Farming Investment Fund. I know how popular these schemes are so I would encourage those eligible to make an application for this valuable support.”
Eligible applicants involved in the production or processing of agricultural, horticultural or forestry products, who are based in England, can apply for a grant. Applicants are urged to make note of the differing deadlines for both strands of the fund.
The deadline for the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund is the 7 January 2022 at midday. Applications for the Farming Transformation Fund can be made online with a new online eligibility checker to improve the application process for these grants as applicants will be able to check in advance their project suitability in relation to the scheme objectives. Projects that score highly enough against the scheme objectives will be invited to make a full application. This will open from today until the 12 January 2022, with the deadline to complete full applications by 30 June 2022.