DEFRA’s Agricultural Transition Plan has today moved another step forward with the launch of its Farming Investment Fund. This new initiative is designed to encourage farmers and contractors to increase productivity in an environmentally sustainable way by providing support for the purchase of machinery and equipment and investment in large infrastructure projects.

The list of available grant-funded items is larger than it has ever been under these types of schemes and is well worth a look for anyone considering investing in their business. Here, Katie Hilton, Director at Cheffins, shares details on the funding available and how to access it.

Farming Equipment and Technology Fund – Small Grants

This new offer is based on the Countryside Productivity Small Grant scheme which was hugely popular, and we expect to see similar levels of uptake with this new initiative.

There is a pre-determined list of 120 items of equipment that applicants can choose from, drawn up following consultation with industry groups and suppliers. The grant funding level is set individually for each item which means successful applicants will be expected to meet the remaining cost of their purchase. The equipment you purchase must meet the specification given so it is advised to check the small print carefully before placing your order.

Grants can be awarded for the purchase of multiple items, so farmers and contractors may want to plan for several new pieces of kit at once. The minimum grant available is set at £2,000 up to a maximum of £25,000.

Items new to the list include six-metre direct drill, crop storage sensors, irrigation sensors and nurse tanks for digestate, all of which are all expected to be incredibly popular in the Eastern region.

Potential applicants are advised to check lead times early with their suppliers to make sure items will be available for purchase within the timescales allowed under the grant scheme. Applicants will then need to follow the scheme guidelines carefully to seamlessly access the grant funds they secure.

The deadline for applications under the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund is 7th January 2022 so potential applicants are advised to act quickly.

Farming Transformation Fund – Large Grants

This scheme is designed to support larger, more complex investments in technology and infrastructure and is based upon the previously available Countryside Productivity Large Grant scheme. It gives access to funding towards the cost of more substantial investments in equipment, technology or infrastructure, with the potential to transform business performance.

The scheme is split into three separate strands:

  • Water Management
  • Improving Farm Productivity
  • Adding Value

The Water Management grant is now open for applications whilst the Improving Farm Productivity and Adding Value grants will open at a later date.

For these significant projects there is a two-stage application process which can take time, and which requires evidence of a sound business case. DEFRA’s priorities for funding typically look for evidence that a business will achieve certain criteria, for example, improve productivity or innovation, or help introduce collaboration, or create rural jobs.

In the past, we have seen farming and other rural businesses really propel themselves forward in a way that could not have otherwise been achieved. These grants will be well worth a look for anyone considering a significant investment to their business.

The minimum grant available is set at £35,000 up to a maximum of £500,000, which covers 40 per cent of the overall project cost.

The deadline for full applications under the Farming Transformation Fund Water Management Grant is 30th June 2022.

Contact our Rural Professional team who can provide initial advice and help with all aspects of your application: Katie Hilton - 01223 271959 or Catherine Hackshall - 01223 271991.