Poultry farmers are among the one thousand rural businesses set to benefit from DEFRA’s £20m Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme, aimed at improving farm efficiency and sustainability.

The DEFRA-approved scheme gives farmers the opportunity to apply for a 40% grant of up to £25,000 to invest in “green projects”, which will help producers grow their businesses in a more sustainable way.

Eligible projects include those which:

  • reduce carbon emissions and save energy
  • encourage better use of manures
  • improve animal health and welfare
  • save and recycle water

The scheme is part of DEFRA’s £100m Rural Development Programme for England, which was announced in the Rural Economy Growth Review last November.

Poultry farmer William Maughan, from Darlington, Co Durham, is one of the many producers now benefiting from the scheme.

He applied for the first available grants, which closed in January, and is now set to receive 40% towards a £9,344 project, which will help to fund the replacement of bell drinkers in his free-range sheds with nipple drinkers.

Part of the funding will also go towards a Dosatron system to medicate the water for his 16,400-bird flock.

“This will allow us to improve the water quality our birds receive and it will help with a number of potential alignments and promote good health,” Mr Maughan told Poultry World.

The grant will also provide him with a new GPS system for his arable enterprise, as well as an improved cattle handling system for his 200-head of beef cattle.

“Without the incentive of the grant we wouldn’t have made the improvements,” he said.

Another £60m Rural Economy Grant is also available under the Rural Development Scheme.

Worth up to £1m each, the grant is open to entrepreneurs in rural areas and is aimed at improving competitiveness, productivity and environmental efficiency of the farming, agri-food and forestry sector.

A second round of funding under the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme opens for applications in May.

More on this topic

For more information contact your local RDPE delivery team