Farmers affected by severe flooding early this year have until 9th May to apply for a grant under the Farming Recovery Fund (FRF). Those looking for help to restore land back to agricultural production should act now or risk losing out on cash made available by the Government following the severe weather experienced in December and the New Year.
Provided by the Rural Development Programme for England, grants of between £500 and £5,000 are available to any farm holdings that were directly affected by the recent floods that gripped large parts of the South-West. Announced by the Prime Minister in February, the FRF is designed to support activities that reduce the consequences of severe flooding on agricultural land and help to restore its physical capacity.
Grants will be given to those affected since 1st December 2013 as businesses that depend upon their farming enterprises to provide a significant contribution to household income. The fund gives farmers the chance to alleviate some of the damage caused by the exceptionally bad weather experienced during the winter. I would urge those who think they could receive a grant to act now.
The FRF focuses on four key areas of recovery including the restoration of productive grassland, the restoration of productive arable and horticultural land, restoring farm vehicle access to fields, and improvements to agricultural drainage.
It is important to ensure that you do not start or commit to any work before you have had confirmation from DEFRA that your grant application is approved and that any other necessary permissions are in place. This includes, for example, planning or drainage authority consent, Environment Agency consent or approval from Natural England where the land is designated as an SSSI or is within an agri-environment scheme.
Any application for funds will need to be fully supported by evidence and the claimant will also need to demonstrate that the items which form the claim were not covered under any insurance policy. This evidence will need to be carefully assembled.
For projects on tenanted holdings, DEFRA requires the applicant to have at least six years of their tenancy remaining where the potential grant-aided item is a fixed or permanent addition to the infrastructure of the holding.
If you are unsure, the team of agricultural land experts at Bruton Knowles is on hand to provide the right advice and to help farmers get their businesses back on track as soon as possible. The worst thing would be to do nothing.
- Ben Compton is a rural surveyor at Bruton Knowles. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 01452 880000.