About the scheme
With the application deadline drawing near, the Countryside Productivity Scheme is offering its last chance for farmers who want to invest in innovative technology for their farm business, by offering grants between £35k to £1m under the Improving Farm Productivity Grant. Farmers from livestock, dairy, arable and horticultural sectors can apply for these grants which must aim to improve productivity through the following methods:
- The use of robotic equipment and systems that aid crop and livestock productions
Example; milking robots which include sensors that monitor cow health and milk composition, thus improving labour efficiency, herd health and wellness as well as yield.
- Increasing the usage of renewable energy that is produced on farm by improving energy distribution and storage
Example; A heat distribution main, heat exchangers and an innovative ventilation system that distribute renewable heat from boilers powered by poultry litter. This project will reduce liquid petroleum gas usage by over 50% whilst also increasing animal health and welfare standards.
- The use of LED wavelength-controlled lighting to aid crop production
Example; using LED light at different wavelengths to influence growth in controlled situations i.e. horticultural crops
- More efficient use of livestock manures, slurries and digestate
Example; Slurry application equipment that includes inline, real-time nutrient sensors, flow meters and a trailing shoe application system that fits to an existing slurry tanker. This machine will reduce ammonia emissions and reduce significant costs on fertiliser.
As well as meeting the four criteria, applications will also be required to meet the following conditions:
- Good value for money
- In line with domestic strategic priorities
Funding has been guaranteed by the government on the basis that the grant is agreed before the UK's departure from the EU, and the agreement shall remain in place even after BREXIT has taken place. The closing date for applications is the 3rd December 2018.
The following criteria must be met to ensure the eligibility of an application:
- The grants are for a minimum of £35,000 and can cover up to 40% of eligible costs per project, meaning that the total minimum eligible cost of a project is therefore £87,500
- At least 60% of project costs must be paid for with money from private sources
- Demonstration of the ability to fund the non-grant element of the project is required. This includes providing evidence of any loan agreements or overdraft facilities
- Work for the project must not be started before the grant agreement has been signed
- Three separate quotes are required for the purchase of all items included in the project
- If needed, planning permission must be approved before submitting the application
- Tenant’s must prove that their tenancy has at least 6 years to run
- You may only apply for one RDPE grant per individual project. Other RDPE grants include; RDPE Growth Programme, LEADER, Countryside Productivity, Farming Recovery Fund, Cumbria Countryside Access Fund and Countryside Stewardship
To maximise the success of an application, it should be ensured that at least one or more of the priorities laid out below are met:
- Productivity improvement – This includes introducing new systems, processes, methods and equipment that increase productivity or resource management
- Increase resilience – The project should support a farming operation so that it becomes more resilient to climate change, whilst reducing environmental impacts
- Improve efficiency – A project that supports efficient usage of field and livestock systems as well as improving nutrient management
- Promotes innovation – The introduction of new and innovative technology
- Business growth and expansion – This involves creating new jobs or increasing farm profitability or turnover
- Establishment of new partnerships and collaborations – The creation of new relationships between businesses and sharing available resources
For further guidance on eligibility and application information, please contact us or visit: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/658195/Improving_Farm_Productivity_handbook_v2.pdf