Farmers will benefit from a £ 27million prize pool to invest in productivity-enhancing equipment when the Agriculture Investment Fund opens today (Tuesday, November 16).
From today, farmers, foresters and producers across England are invited to apply for grants to buy new equipment and infrastructure to improve efficiency and help us to rebuild in a better way green. This could include solar powered electric fences, water treatment systems that use ultraviolet light rather than chemicals, and cameras to monitor livestock.
The fund will be divided into two parts. First, the Agricultural Equipment and Technology Fund will focus on smaller grants for fixed list equipment, including electronic seeders and chemical-free disinfection systems. Second, the Farming Transformation Fund will cover larger technology, with the potential to transform business performance. This stream will initially focus on water management with grants available to improve water use on farms for things like irrigating crops and building on-farm reservoirs.
Agriculture Minister Victoria Prentis said:
I am happy to offer support to eligible farmers through the new Agriculture Investment Fund to invest in technology and infrastructure to boost productivity and deliver environmental benefits.
Investing in new technologies and equipment on the 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 agriculture industry will play a crucial role in helping this government achieve its Net Zero ambitions and today’s announcement builds on a series of commitments in the Net Zero Strategy. This includes a £ 124million boost to the Nature Climate Fund, helping to meet commitments to restore around 280,000 hectares of peat moss in England by 2050 and to triple the creation of forests in England from here the end of this Parliament.
As stated in the Agricultural Transition Plan, the government is also introducing a series of reforms to encourage sustainable farming practices, rewarding farmers for the production of public goods such as better air and water quality, protection of wildlife, soil health and animal welfare.
As direct payments are phased out during the 7-year agricultural transition, the government is committed to providing financial assistance to help farmers invest in their businesses to improve their productivity, manage the environment in a sustainable manner. and providing other public goods.
Farmers can also access business support through the Farming Resilience Fund. The fund provides grants to organizations so that they can support farmers and land managers who receive payments from the Basic Payment Scheme.
Rural Payments Agency chief executive Paul Caldwell said:
Innovation and technology are having a real impact on the entire agricultural sector, so I am delighted to be able to help unlock this potential for many farmers through the Agricultural Investment Fund. I know how popular these programs are, so I encourage those eligible to apply for this valuable support.
Eligible applicants involved in the production or processing of agricultural, horticultural or forestry products, who are based in England, may apply for a grant. Applicants are kindly requested to take note of the different deadlines for the two components of the fund.
The deadline for the Agricultural Equipment and Technology Fund is January 7, 2022 at noon. Farming Transformation Fund applications 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 the suitability of their project to the objectives of the program. Projects that score high enough against the program objectives will be invited to submit a full application. This will open from today until January 12, 2022, with the deadline for completing full applications by June 30, 2022.