Farmers in the south west of England are being offered £156m in Rural Development funding to improve the efficiency of their farms.

From July, farmers will be able to apply for grants of up to £20,000 to improve their resource management as well as saving money and the environment.

At least 600 grants are expected to be handed out from the autumn, with the rest of the funding being handed out over the next four years.

Speaking at this week’s Royal Bath & West Show, Andy Rumming of the South West Regional Development Agency said the said the Agricultural Resource Management grants would provide 40% funding towards projects which improved soil and nutrient management, or saved energy.

“It’s all about trying to improve the bottom line by working through environmental areas,” he said.

Projects which could qualify included trailed slurry shoes to improve nutrient uptake, variable speed dairy vacuum pumps to save energy and ground source heat pumps to reduce fuel bills.

Although the RDPE could not directly fund projects to meet Nitrate Vulnerable Zone regulations, those which saved the farm money and improved the environment would still qualify, said Mr Rumming.

“We’re trying to get the money to as many people as possible – and it would be great if it will help some people deal with NVZs.”

Other grants were also available for one-to-one farm business advice, practical training, farm diversification projects, adding value and rural micro-businesses which were aiding the land-based sector.

For more information contact the Rural Enterprise Gateway on 0845 600 9966 or visit the website