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https://defrafarming.blog.gov.uk/2022/02/21/how-were-developing-slurry-grants/

How we’re developing slurry grants 

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Conversations we're having, Funding
Natural England/Steve Marston

Today, we've blogged about how we're working with farmers and others across the industry to use slurry to our advantage. 

Farmers told us that finance often stands in the way of improving their slurry and nutrient management systems.  

Investing in slurry equipment and infrastructure is expensive. Particularly when it comes to integrating new technologies, techniques and building infrastructure. 

In this post, we'll share how we've been developing slurry grants to better support farmers and what to expect later this year. 

Our commitment  

When we published our Agricultural Transition Plan in Autumn 2020, we said we would offer grant support over several years to help farmers reduce pollution from slurry through a new slurry investment scheme. 

Since then, we’ve been working with farmers and the wider industry on how best to do this.  

Reflecting on what people told us, and the many elements involved, we have made some important decisions about how we support slurry investment. 

Sharing our early plans  

Not all farms need to make the same investment. So, we want to give farmers the choice to apply for grant support across a range of slurry management equipment and technology.  

Rather than setting up an individual scheme to do this, we want to make things simpler by having the majority of slurry grants available in one place. 

We will do this by adding to and improving the Farming Investment Fund offer, rather than creating a new separate slurry investment scheme.

To be clear, the same investment opportunities will be available, but we will deliver them through our existing scheme rather than setting up a separate service for slurry.

We will keep working with farming organisations and others to make sure farmers are aware of this, and that nobody misses out if they are looking for a specific slurry investment scheme.

The first round of the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (the small grants part of the Farming Investment Fund) offered funding for the best available slurry techniques, including separators and low-emission spreaders. We will soon ask people to share their views on how we can improve this offer in future rounds.

In January, we launched a new offer for slurry acidification projects, under the Improving Farm Productivity strand of the Farming Transformation Fund. This is the large capital grants part of the Farming Investment Fund.

Applicants have until 16 March 2022 to submit applications via the on-line checker.

We published details on how to apply on GOV.UK. 

While this is was a positive start, there were gaps in our offer. So, over the winter, we brought together a small group of farmers and industry representatives to help us co-design a new slurry infrastructure theme, to offer under the Farming Investment Fund from Autumn 2022.  

Though we are still in the process of developing this with our co-design group, we wanted to share what the first round will look like. 

What will we fund? Adding to what is already provided under the Farming Investment Fund, we propose offering significant grant contributions towards covered slurry store construction projects, to enable farmers to get to 6 months storage capacity.  

Who will be eligible? We think applications should be open to all livestock farmers in England (dairy, beef, pig) already on a slurry system. 

What can farmers build? Farmers tell us that having as much choice as possible over the type of storage is important to them. It’s also important that stores are built to high standards, so we’re taking these two factors into account. We are also looking at what conditions, advice and guidance we put with the grant to help farmers make this decision. In particular, we are looking at how to support farmers to embed robust nutrient management planning at the heart of their slurry system design, so that grants support sustainable investments that work for farmers and the environment. 

How long will it last? This will be a substantial, multi-year offer. We want to offer multiple chances for farmers to apply to fit in with their situations. Though the grant will be open to all, if we have excess applications in the first round, we are considering prioritising those projects which maximise environmental outcomes. 

We are continuing to work with our co-design group on the finer details of grant design and will give further details in the spring. We want to give as much information as possible to help farmers get ready for the launch in autumn.

Talk to us 

In the meantime, please leave a comment or you can get in touch with the team at tacklingpollutionfromslurry@defra.gov.uk to be part of the conversation on how we put slurry to best use.

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13 comments

  1. Comment by Chris Hutchinson posted on

    It states applications to be in by 16 March 2022 .Then it says the Farming Investment Fund from Autumn 2022 ,very confusing

    Reply
    • Replies to Chris Hutchinson>

      Comment by Sarah Stewart posted on

      Hi Chris,

      Sorry for the confusion. There are 2 separate grant offers. If you're applying for the first, you'll need to make sure your application is in by 16 March 2022. A second grant is planned on the slurry infrastructure theme from autumn 2022.

      Best wishes,
      Sarah

      Reply
  2. Comment by Claire posted on

    Will the grant for slurry infrastructure allow for roofs to be put on at a later date rather than at the same time as expanding the lagoon to accommodate 6 months storage? As roofing is not required until 2027. This will assist in spreading the cost over a number of years.

    Reply
    • Replies to Claire>

      Comment by The Team posted on

      Hi Claire,

      We expect to require farmers to cover grant funded stores as part of the project. Further details this will be published in scheme guidance later this year.

      Best wishes,
      The Team

      Reply
  3. Comment by JAMES LOCKHART posted on

    just one question , is there a grant for slurry stores?if not why not ?

    Reply
    • Replies to JAMES LOCKHART>

      Comment by The Team posted on

      Hi James,

      Yes, the new slurry infrastructure grant will support farmers to build improved slurry storage.

      Best wishes,
      The Team

      Reply
  4. Comment by E posted on

    What qualifies as 'already on a slurry system'?

    Reply
    • Replies to E>

      Comment by The Team posted on

      Hello,

      The grant will support farmers who already operate a slurry-based system to manage their livestock to upgrade their infrastructure. The grant cannot be used to move from a predominantly straw-based, farmyard manure system onto a slurry system. Further details will be published in scheme guidance later this year.

      Best wishes,
      The Team

      Reply
  5. Comment by Neil posted on

    Hi,

    Do you know if the new slurry infrastructure grant will include funding for a new slurry tower rather than just a cover for an existing store?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Replies to Neil>

      Comment by The Team posted on

      Hi Neil,

      Yes, the new slurry infrastructure grant will support farmers to build new or expand existing slurry stores, and to cover those stores. Further details this will be published in scheme guidance later this year.

      Best wishes,
      The Team

      Reply
  6. Comment by JAMES LOCKHART posted on

    what percentage will the grant be, and is it on above ground stores.

    Reply
    • Replies to JAMES LOCKHART>

      Comment by The Team posted on

      Hello James,

      As mentioned in the post, we want to give farmers choice as to what type of storage they build. Above ground stores will be in scope of the grant. We will publish further details on the intervention rate for the scheme in further guidance later this year.

      Best wishes,
      The Team

      Reply
  7. Comment by JS & KA WHITAKER posted on

    Hi will the new slurry infrastructure grant aplication period be long enough and simple to allow farmers already stretched with normal farm work plus masses of office work and multiple audits to deal with.
    And will the grant rate and duration be enough to cope with escalating costs and availability of constructers/tradespeople and materials when everyone jumps on the band wagon at the same time.
    And will the scheme respect and fit in with the seasonal nature of farming and abnormal weather.

    Thanks
    john

    Reply

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