7 Oct 2020

Urgent – Third round of Small Farm Grant Scheme announced with 28-day application window

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The third and final round of the Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme was announced on 7 October. The scheme is aimed at encouraging farming businesses to acquire new equipment which will improve efficiency and animal welfare, and also benefit the environment. Only equipment on the approved list will be eligible for the grant, which can be between £3,000 and £12,000 per farm, and applications must be made through the online portal by 4 November, a 28-day window.

As previously, the grant will be based on a standard cost for the equipment concerned and will cover 40% (50% in Cornwall) of that cost irrespective of the actual price paid. The approved list includes, for example, livestock handling, weighing and testing equipment, precision drills, GPS updating and input monitoring systems, wireless network repeaters and digital weather stations.

Claimants for grants in earlier rounds of the system can make further application this round, but only up to a maximum of £12,000 overall. The budget for the current round of £25 million brings the total funding offered under the schemes to £60 million.

The press release announcing the grants, confirmed that this will be the final round of the scheme. However, it went on to add that, “Powers have been included in the Agriculture Bill to allow the government to provide financial assistance to support farmers to invest in equipment, technology and infrastructure that will not only boost their productivity, but also deliver environmental and other public benefits.”

This implies perhaps that new initiatives might follow in future, along much the same lines, as part of the wider policy of subsidy reform.

Commenting on the news, MHA Monahans agriculture partner, Andrew Perrott, said, "We welcome a third round of this very popular scheme, but are concerned at the very tight timescale for applications. Clients have less than four weeks to decide what they need, check it's on the approved list and complete the claim.”

To discuss this further, please contact Andrew Perrott.