The whole of this year’s £5m Agriculture Transformation Fund will be available for farmers and contractors to invest in improving slurry management, the Scottish government has announced.
The money, via the Sustainable Agriculture Capital Grant Scheme (SACGS) 2022, can be used to buy items such as covers that will help the industry reduce emissions and improve water quality.
The scheme will open in April, with applications due towards the end of May.
Rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Given the supply issues that I know many farmers and crofters faced in the SACGS 2020 pilot, the aim is to have a claims period that is as long as possible before a deadline of the end of February 2023.
“We want applications to be online only through a purpose-built system that should enable a straightforward application process and speedier assessment leading to an early issue of award letters.
“I encourage everyone who can update their spreading equipment and improve their slurry storage to apply for a grant.”
Grants will be offered based on standard costs up to a maximum amount of £20,000.
Full scheme guidance will be published before applications open.
Scottish Land & Estates, which represents farmers and landowners, has welcomed the announcement and called it an important step forward in helping the industry contribute towards a more sustainable future.
Paul Richardson, policy adviser (agriculture and climate change), said: “Farmers and land managers are always striving to evolve their businesses to become more efficient and to reduce emissions. However, cashflow and high capital costs can be a significant barrier to change, so transition funding is vital.
“It is important that businesses look at the detail of the scheme and leave themselves sufficient time to apply, especially as we move forward into the busy spring period. We expect there will be some conditionality when claiming for the capital items, and it is likely that businesses will have to complete a carbon audit and have a nutrient management plan in place.”