Poultry producers trying to make their businesses more efficient, competitive and environmentally friendly have another chance to apply for grant assistance under the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme.
The £20m fund, which forms part of the Rural Development Programme for England, is currently open for a second round of applications, with a deadline set for 17 July.
The scheme was developed to help rural businesses become more profitable and resilient, while reducing the impact on the environment and/or improving animal health and welfare.
Grants vary between 15% and 50%, up to a maximum £25,000, depending on the item and location, though only items listed in the applicant handbook are eligible for funding.
The NFU has listed the following areas that may be funded for poultry producers:
- Percussion stunners
- Replacement of bell with nipple drinkers (though this is now confined to broiler production)
- Water softeners and purification systems
- Measures to prevent feather-pecking (though this is now confined to egg production)
- Incinerators and digesters for carcass disposal
Producers should also be aware that applications submitted in the first round will not be accepted, adds Ali Gray, a farm business consultant with land agent Strutt & Parker. "But this scheme offers a very good opportunity and it should not be wasted," she added.
* Application forms are available to download from www.rdpenetwork.defra.gov.uk