Young farmers in Wales hoping to benefit from a scheme offering a start-up grant of £40,000 have a fortnight left to express their interest.
The Young People into Agriculture scheme will support 150 young farmers looking to establish a new business in their own right or develop a fledgling one.
The aim is to support the next generation of farmers, focusing on those who have the skills and potential to drive change in the wider industry.
Expressions of Interest (EOIs) are being sought from “high achieving” young farmers who were under the age of 40 on 1 April 2018 and were setting up as head of the holding for the first time.
Successful applicants will have to demonstrate they have the potential to lead dynamic new businesses or deliver change in an existing business.
Their businesses must either have been set up in the 12 months before 1 April 2018 or be established by 1 September 2018.
The £40,000 funding will be paid in three instalments up until 31 March 2020, if applicants can prove they have successfully delivered on an agreed set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
The money is working capital and so can be used to pay for the running costs of the business, or to facilitate the purchase of land, machinery or other equipment.
The EOI paperwork will be scored and ranked in order until a list of 150 potential candidates has been reached.
Only these applicants will be invited to the second stage of the application process, which will involve submitting a business plan and a schedule of KPIs on which applicants feel their performance should be measured.
The government has published a scoring matrix which shows how the EOIs will be marked.
It shows that extra points will be awarded to applicants operating on tenanted land with a degree-level education.
Horticulture and dairy businesses will also score higher than beef, cereals, pig, poultry or sheep enterprises (the score for sheep being the lowest).
Applications will also be assessed on the business plan supplied with them – with a Farming Connect business plan securing a higher score than other forms of business plan.
Expressions of interest must be submitted by 12 June.