Farmers in Wales have six weeks to apply for up to £50,000 of grant funding to tackle on-farm pollution.
The Sustainable Production Grant (SPG) expression of interest window opened on Monday (September 3) with a funding pot of £6m.
Grant money will be available for 40% of a project costing between £30,000 and £125,000 in total, meaning farmers will be able to claim between £12,000 and £50,000.
As pressure grows on the farming industry to tackle pollution, the Welsh government has put the issue firmly at the centre of this new round of SPG grant aid.
The scheme was last open in 2016 when it was massively over-subscribed. It is part of a wider programme of grants delivered through European funding which also includes money for equipment which has been demonstrated to promote on-farm efficiencies.
Roofed or covered slurry stores are on the list of eligible items along with silage clamps, systems for dirty water management and slurry tankers.
Fuel tanks and chemical stores are also on the list, as is precision farming technology: GPS systems qualify for support.
What has changed since the last round of funding?
A criticism of the last round of SPG funding was that it was beyond the reach of many farmers – at that time a farmer had to spend a minimum of £40,000; at that level the grant was £16,000.
The threshold has been reduced slightly this time around – grants of £12,000 to £50,000 can be claimed.
The government makes clear that to qualify, any investment must demonstrate “clear and quantifiable benefits’’ to the applicant’s farm enterprise and the wider environment.
The grant will support covered storage only if it achieves a minimum storage capacity of 160 days – or 190 days for pigs and poultry – regardless of any existing on-farm storage.
Uncovered slurry storage facilities will get support only if the roofs and yards associated with rain water entering the proposed storage facility or any existing storage are made good first.
Which capital items are eligible?
- Below-ground tanks/slurry stores and reception pits
- Above-ground circular stores
- Covers for slurry tanks and lagoons
- Mats for silage pits
- Trailing shoe and band slurry spreaders
- Slurry injectors
- Slurry separators
- Variable-rate controllers for sprayers and fertiliser spreaders
What other criteria must farmers meet?
- Have been trading for two years
- Be able to provide estimates for the cost of the items
- Not have been awarded an SPG in previous windows
- Have attended a Farming Connect Sustainable Farming roadshow
Farmers have until October 16 to apply. More information on eligible items and online application forms are available on the Welsh Government’s website.