Young farmer in tractor in field of wheat(c) Rex

An estimated £20m of grants is being made available to farming entrants in Scotland as part of the Scottish government’s Rural Development Programme.

NFU Scotland is urging those interested to hurry, as applicants are limited by age and how long they have been in business.

There are two grant schemes:

Start-up Grant

  • Up to £55,000 to start or take over an agriculture business, either as a sole trader, as an equal partner with other young farmers, as the majority partner with other farmers or crofters or as the majority shareholder in a company
  • Funding can be used to pay for costs such as land, livestock and machinery.
  • Applicants must have been running the business for no more than two years and be less than 41 years old.
  • Must have registered the business with the SGRIP
  • Must have a formal agricultural qualification at least to NVQ level two or be able to demonstrate at least five years agricultural experience

New Entrants Capital Grant

  • Aimed at new entrants who want to improve their agricultural business and help promote sustainable development
  • Up to £25,000 available to individuals who have been running their business for no more than five years, or up to £125,000 for a group.
  • Funding can be used to cover all aspects of a project, including materials, transport of materials, contractor costs and the applicant’s own labour.
  • About £2m will be available every year until 2020
  • The scheme is competitive and once money has been allocated it will be closed to new applicants until 1 January next year.

Submit and application for either scheme here.

Iain MacKay, a Mull farmer who chairs NFU Scotland’s new-generation group, said detail and guidance has yet to be agreed for the schemes.

“However, the eligibility criteria is known and I would urge any new entrant who is approaching any of the deadlines – such as a 41st birthday or the number of years in charge of the business – to press ahead with completing the application forms now and avoid breaching eligibility rules.

“We will be holding new-generation group meetings around the country in February to give and receive further comments.”