Grants worth up to £250k on offer as NI farm scheme opens

Farmers in Northern Ireland can apply for funding of up to £250,000 as part of tier two of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme – Capital (FBIS-C).

The scheme, launched by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera), will be accepting expressions of interest until 13 August 2021.

Only businesses that submit an expression of interest will be eligible to submit a full application later in the year.

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The aim for tier two of FBIS-C scheme is to help farmers invest in future-proofing their businesses through investments in equipment, construction and infrastructure.

Funding is available for capital investment in on-farm improvements costing more than £30,000. The grant will cover 40% of the total costs of the agricultural projects.

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) said farmers should consider their options carefully when applying for the scheme. This is to ensure they can commit financially to paying for the remaining project costs that are not covered by the grant.

In total, funding worth up to £12m will be given out as part of this phase by Daera.

Daera has stated that all projects involving construction or renovation of buildings will require all the relevant planning permissions before a full application can be submitted.

It also announced the scheme would not support proposals that would lead to increases in the amount of time cattle are housed or, equally, proposals that would decrease the amount of time cattle spend grazing outside.

UFU deputy president David Brown said: “The grants available through the FBIS-C give farmers the opportunity to make much-needed developments on farm or purchase modern equipment to help future-proof their business, increase production efficiencies and make environmental improvements.”

The scheme is being funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

More information on the scheme, including how to submit an expression of interest, can be found on Daera’s website.