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https://defrafarming.blog.gov.uk/2021/03/30/the-farming-investment-fund-an-overview/

The Farming Investment Fund: an overview

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In the Agricultural Transition Plan, we said we believe there is a way for the industry to increase productivity in an environmentally sustainable way without relying on Direct Payments.

As Direct Payments are phasing out, new initiatives are taking flight. The Farming Investment Fund is one of the ways through which profitability and environmental good can be achieved. 

In this post, I’ll give an overview of the fund, ahead of its launch in the autumn. 

Simply put, The Farming Investment Fund is divided in two. One part of the fund awards grants of lower value and the other part awards grants of higher value.

The lower value investment part of the fund is called the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund.

The higher value investment part of the fund is called the Farming Transformation Fund.

Farmers and agricultural or forestry contractors involved in the production or processing of agricultural, horticultural or forestry products, who are based in England, can apply for a grant.  

It’s worth saying that agents will be able to apply on behalf of their clients, so long as they have the necessary permission on the Rural Payments system.  

We’ll publish the full eligibility guidance on GOV.UK in the coming months and we’ll blog about how applications are assessed before the autumn launch.

The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund 

The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund will provide smaller grants to improve business performance.

Farmers can apply for a grant to buy items from a set list of equipment, technology and small infrastructure investments. It is based on the current Countryside Productivity Small Grant scheme.

We are working with farmers, foresters, growers, contractors, and representative organisations to refresh this list. We will publish a blog post with more details about the list closer to the launch.

You will be able to make an application online quickly and simply. The approval process will be straightforward, with a clear grant value assigned to each item. If an application is successful, the applicant will buy the item and then will be able to claim the reimbursement using their receipt.

The Farming Transformation Fund

Grants awarded from The Farming Transformation Fund will support larger or more complicated investments. It is based on the Countryside Productivity Large Grant scheme which was structured around a number of themes. In the past we supported water resource management, adding value to agri-food and improving farm productivity

We are assessing which themes to support based on the feedback from previous schemes and conversations we are having with farmers.

The kinds of things grants might be awarded for could include:

  • on-farm water storage infrastructure, including reservoirs 
  • precision agriculture equipment (for example, low emission and variable-rate nutrient or pesticide application)
  • robotic or automated technology
  • equipment and technology for storing, sorting, or processing products 

For these grants we are designing an online eligibility checker to improve the application process. This is currently being tested with users.

We will publish more information about the kind of projects we will fund as part of the guidance when it launches in autumn.

If you’d like to know more about the Farming Investment Fund, for example how we compiled the Farming Equipment and Technology list, or our approach to the application and assessment process, comment below.

To keep up to date with our work, subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already, and sign up to Defra’s e-alerts too. 

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11 comments

  1. Comment by Peter Joyce posted on

    Can you post a link to Annex 3 of the Countryside Productivity Small Grant Scheme?

    Reply
  2. Comment by Tom Wilkinson posted on

    Are you able to say if grain storage and grain drying/handling equipment will be covered by: "equipment and technology for storing, sorting, or processing products".

    Reply
    • Replies to Tom Wilkinson>

      Comment by Gordon Jones posted on

      Hi Tom, thanks for visiting the blog and for your question. We are not yet able to confirm what will be eligible for funding through the Farming Transformation Fund, but specific details on eligible items will be set out in scheme guidance. We'll be sure to post updates here on the blog and on GOV.UK. Best wishes, Gordon.

      Reply
  3. Comment by Joy Soar posted on

    Hello,
    Yes please, I would like to know how the list for the farming equipment and technology fund was chosen. Given the huge variety of farms, their soils and farming systems it must be difficult to get a prescription that's works for all.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Replies to Joy Soar>

      Comment by Gordon Jones posted on

      Hi Joy. A couple of people have said a blog post on this would be useful, so we'll do it. It's worth saying that the fund is based on a prescribed list of items which unfortunately can’t support everything a farmer needs to run their business. We will continue to keep the list of items under review to ensure future rounds of the scheme continue to be relevant. In reviewing the list, we have sought to engage farmers and their representatives, requesting that can deliver against one or more of the following policy outcomes: improve agricultural productivity, contribute to improved Animal Health and Welfare, encourage more sustainable pesticide usage, improve air and water quality, reduce Green House Gas emissions in line with Net Zero targets, reduce unsustainable use of abstracted water and encourage sustainable management of woodlands. Hope that's useful, and do look out for a blog from us in the coming months. Best wishes, Gordon.

      Reply
  4. Comment by Ian May posted on

    Hello, yes please I would be interested in knowing more about how the list of equipment in both grant schemes are chosen and how we may be able to input into the process.

    Thank you

    Reply
  5. Comment by Mark Harrison posted on

    Hello, There were some anomalies in the last round of the Countryside program in terms of roduct specification and pricing of items that made it difficult to get future proofed technology of the right type. Are these being addressed? It would make the money work more effectively and stop acquisition of tech with redundant features that won't be used or in order to tick the box so to speak.

    Reply
    • Replies to Mark Harrison>

      Comment by Jess Everett posted on

      Hi Mark,

      The list of items was reviewed between rounds including industry consultation. We are currently reviewing the list to make sure that the items offered this autumn, and in any future rounds, remain relevant. In doing this, we are carrying out a range of consultation measures.

      Thanks,
      Jess

      Reply
  6. Comment by Seb Murray posted on

    You note an online eligibility tool is being tested with users, how can farmers and rural consultants be part of the testing process?

    Reply

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