Cow being foot-trimmedCrushes to facilitate foot-trimming are eligible for funding © Tim Scrivener

Farm minister George Eustice has unveiled a £60m grant scheme to help farmers in England fund purchases of new equipment.

The Countryside Productivity Small Grant Scheme will be open to bids of between £3,000 and £12,000 to put towards equipment costs.

Applications can be made on the Government’s Countryside Productivity Scheme website. 

See also: Government support available to build on-farm reservoirs

Mr Eustice announced the scheme at the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmer’s Dairy Tech 2018 event in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, on 7 February.

The minister told showgoers many of the items eligible for funding were relevant to the dairy sector, including specialist foot trimming crushes and calving detectors.

Countryside Productivity Scheme grant areas

  • Water resource management and reservoirs
  • Improving forestry productivity
  • Adding value to agri-food
  • Improving farm productivity

Opening the event alongside Lord Curry and RABDF chairman Mike King, Mr Eustice said:  “By opening this small grants scheme, we hope more farmers will be able to access this equipment and embark on more innovative and ambitious projects.”

“The dairy industry is our largest agricultural sector and we want to make sure farmers can become more resilient, competitive and able to capitalise on the growing global interest in quality British produce as we leave the EU.”

But Mr Eustice stressed the scheme was not only open to dairy farmers.

He explained that the website and application process set out details of “a range of innovative items from which most farmers could find something they would want to apply for”.  

The scheme is funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development via the Rural Development Programme for England.

The latest grant scheme falls under the wider Countryside Productivity Scheme. It was launched in July 2017 and provides financial assistance for a range of different projects in the farming and forestry sectors.

Larger grants of more than £35,000 are available for projects that make more efficient use of resources and processing products to help create jobs and growth in the rural economy.