Daera to increase funding for NI farm business grants

An extra £400,000 will be added to the allocation budget of a multimillion-pound farm business grant scheme in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera) announced on Wednesday (2 May) that the second tranche of tier 1 of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme – Capital (FBIS-C) would receive extra funding.

Almost 3,000 applications have been received under the second tranche of the scheme, which is designed to support small-scale investments such as the purchase of equipment and machinery, to improve the sustainability of farm businesses.

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Grants are available for 40% of eligible costs on projects ranging from £5,000-£30,000.

The second tranche originally had a budget of £7.5m, but this has been increased to £7.9m.

A Daera spokesperson said: “This will help to ensure that the future sustainability of even more farms in Northern Ireland is achieved through capital investment in equipment that will also bring about improvements to the environment, animal and plant health, occupational health and safety and production efficiency.”

Oversubscribed?

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has welcomed the announcement, saying the extra funding will help many farmers improve the efficiency of their farms.

But UFU president Ivor Ferguson added: “Despite the additional funding, the scheme remains oversubscribed and we would call on Daera to do what it can to find further additional funds for this popular scheme.”

To date, 1,480 letters of offer for grants totalling £7.5m have been issued. Letters of offer will continue to be issued to eligible applications until the available budget is fully allocated. It is expected that unsuccessful applicants will be notified by early June.

For assistance with the application, contact Countryside Services on 0845 026 7535 or via email to tier1@countrysideservices.com.

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