Changes to the way farmers apply for Rural Enterprise funding from Regional Development Agencies could save time and avoid wasted applications.
The new Rural Development Plan for England (RDPE) will be formally launched in January 2008 and most of the nine regional development agencies are likely to adopt a two-stage application process, said Steve Dunkley from Yorkshire Forward at this week’s National Non-Food Crops Centre/ Crops conferences (20 & 22 November).
The first stage is an “expression of interest” which involves providing brief details of the project, including estimates of cost and timescale. “Any low priority projects can be discounted earlier, before time’s wasted on a full application.”
If the expression of interest is accepted, applicants then complete a full business plan, including market research, quotes, and planning details. “Under the old programme, the success rate was about 60%. The new system should save time and prevent wasted applications.”
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National Non-Food Crops Centre Grasping the Green Agenda conference