£35m fund set to help English farms diversify

Farmers in England can tap into grant funding of up to £750,000 to support equipment purchases for diversification from next Monday (4 November).

The government has reopened the EU-funded Growth Programme with £35m of funding to provide grants for rural businesses to purchase kit that will help drive business growth, create new jobs or promote tourism.

Up to £750,000 is available for food processing businesses, but for all other rural businesses the maximum is £180,000.

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The minimum grant has been reduced from £35,000 to £20,000 to allow more small businesses to apply.

More information is available on the Growth Programme website.

Farming minister George Eustice said: “This next round of funding will help more businesses to grow and local areas to prosper – and I would urge any rural enterprise to look into what this scheme could do for them.

“I would also encourage farmers to consider how they might use this funding to branch out and diversify their businesses, making the most of emerging trends and tastes and looking ahead to new opportunities.”

Those interested can check if their business is eligible by emailing an expression of interest to GPEnquiries@rpa.gov.uk or calling the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) helpline on 03000 200 301.

The deadline for expressions of interest is 16 February 2020.

If the RPA deems a business eligible, they will then be invited to submit a full application.