Countryside Productivity Small Grant scheme re-opens with £15 million up for grabs

After much anticipation, the second round of the popular Countryside Productivity Small Grant scheme has reopened today. Farmers in England can apply for funding towards agricultural equipment, sourcing the additional 60% themselves.

However, with the closing date for online applications less than 56 days away (closing midday on Tuesday 3rd September 2019) farmers must act quickly.

Beth Hanson, rural professional at McCartneys, explains the grant scheme is open to the livestock, dairy, arable and horticultural sectors.

“The grant provides 40 percent funding towards over 85 different pieces of agricultural equipment, including fixed and mobile livestock handling systems, calf milk feeders, cameras for monitoring livestock, electronic weigh scales, precision farming equipment, grain stirrers and fruit ripeness spectrometers.

“The 40 percent grant is for a minimum of £3,000 (i.e. minimum £7,500 total spend) and up to a maximum of £12,000 (£30,000 total spend),” she says.

The 2018 round of funding was hugely popular, with farmers claiming a total of £15m to help with purchases of agricultural equipment.

“We are expecting a similar level of uptake from farmers in England this year,” says Beth.

“However, the tight application window being over the summer months and harvest period, may prove challenging,” she adds.

“Farmers shouldn’t be put off by this as the available funding could really help drive improvements in animal health and welfare, resource efficiency or nutrient management. As all of these areas are likely to be fundamental post Brexit, taking steps now will pay dividends.”

When applying for the grant, Beth says there are a couple of key areas to be aware of.

“Each item has a minimum specification and has been allocated a standard cost which the grant will pay 40 percent towards. Farmers can purchase items which exceed the specification but will only receive a grant on the standard cost*.

“Grant funding agreements are anticipated to be offered from late September, requiring farmers to have purchased all of the equipment applied for by the end of February 2020.

“Items purchased with grant funding must also be kept in good repair and used for the same purpose as set out in the original application for five years,” she adds.

This second application window has seen some key changes:

  1. Businesses can apply again this application round

Applicants who had round one funding can also submit a new application to receive funding in round two, providing the total grant value of both applications is not more than £12,000. If a business withdrew their round one application or claim, or their application or claim was rejected, they are also eligible to apply under Round two.

  1. New items added

Round two benefits from an extra 26 eligible items including; sheep conveyors, cameras for monitoring livestock, grassland sward lifters, cover crop rollers, fruit ripeness spectrometers, mobile vertical frost fans for vineyards and horticulture, grain stirrers, thermal image cameras and portable ammonia analysers.

The application is online only and must be submitted by midday on Tuesday 3rd September 2019.

If you would like further information or help with an application, please contact Beth Hanson on 01544 230316 or your local McCartneys Rural Office.

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.