Farmers in England have just days left to apply for funding under Defra’s Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme.
The scheme, which offers grants of £3,000 to £12,000 to invest in agricultural equipment, closes at midday on Tuesday 3 September.
Its aim is to improve technical efficiency, animal health and welfare, resource efficiency or nutrient management.
More than 3,500 applications worth £23.5m received a grant when the scheme ran in 2018. According to Defra, farmers who successfully applied last year can apply again, but the total value of both applications must not exceed £12,000.
Grants cover up to 40% of the cost of equipment (50% in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly) from a list of more than 80 specified items. This means the minimum value of kit purchased is £7,500 and the maximum is £30,000.
Examples of some of the eligible equipment include:
- Nitrogen-measuring devices for calculating fertiliser application
- GPS light bars
- GPS auto steer
- Cover crop rollers
- Portable ammonia analysers
- Vaccination guns
- Robotic slurry pushers
- Cameras for monitoring livestock
- EID panel readers for sheep and cattle
All of the eligible items are set out in guidance notes with a standard cost – the maximum fixed price that Defra will pay out on. The standard cost means there is no need to provide quotes for pieces of equipment.
All applications are assessed by the Rural Payments Agency, with those scoring highly enough offered a funding agreement.The RPA aims to pay out within 30 days of receiving proof of a claim.
- Grant recipients have 150 days from the date of their funding agreement to purchase, take delivery of and pay for the grant-funded equipment and submit their claim.
- Before applying, talk to the manufacturer about supply and delivery times.This is essential because the times for some pieces of livestock-handling kit can take more than 150 days.
- Do not order or buy any of the items before accepting a funding agreement.
- If a grant has been approved, items chosen cannot be changed and all items selected must be bought if you wish to proceed with the claim.
- A claim can be submitted only after all the equipment has been bought and paid for.
- Make sure that equipment meets the specification set out in the handbook. Speak to the supplier to check or email CPSGEnquiries@rpa.gov.uk with a link to the supplier’s website.
- Attach copies of invoices for each item and bank statement copies proving the items have been paid for. The invoice must show each item claimed individually, with details of make and model.
- Check that the money has left your bank account before submitting your claim.
- If the invoice makes no reference to the specification of the machine, the RPA is likely to seek clarification.
Apply to the grant scheme through Defra’s website