£22m grants awarded to make farms more efficient

Farmers in England have two weeks to accept funding offers from the Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme worth a combined £22m.

The scheme, which has now closed to applications, provides grants of between £3,000 and £12,000 to invest in new and innovative equipment.

A Rural Payments Agency (RPA) spokesperson said that once the offer had been received, farmers should check with suppliers that their chosen items are available.

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Once they know the items are available the 3,677 successful applicants then have from today (28 October) to midnight on 10 November to accept their offer on the government website.

Orders should then be placed in good time for deliveries to arrive and payment claims to be processed by the end of May 2020, the spokesperson said.

Defra farm minister George Eustice said he was delighted by the uptake.

“Boosting farm productivity is hugely important, and I’m delighted we’ve been able to fund all [eligible] applications, supporting farmers to invest in game-changing technology.”

RPA chief executive Paul Caldwell added that the scheme had been extremely popular with farmers.

“It is fantastic to see the funding is being made available for all the eligible applications we received for round two.

“I would encourage all our customers to contact their suppliers early to ensure their items can be delivered ahead of the claim deadline.”

Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme

The latest payments are made under the second round of the Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme, which first opened in 2018.

The first round paid out £15m to support farmers investing in technology to boost their productivity.

The £22m under the second round brings the total outlay to £37m. A third and final round is planned for autumn 2020.