Farming and forestry businesses in the South West should ensure they apply for a share of a £10 million pot of Government money earmarked to help them become more efficient.
Property specialists Bruton Knowles advise that up to £35,000 can be claimed by businesses for eligible investment projects under round three of the Forestry and Farming Improvement Grant Scheme, launched by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
Rural Surveyor Ben Compton of Bruton Knowles in Gloucester said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for farmers in the area. Applications have to be in by Friday April 4 and we know from experience in putting together successful applications in rounds one and two that it is important to get them in early.
“For those looking to invest it is a great opportunity to get a large percentage of the cost back in the first year, making the payback on many items much shorter than under normal circumstances.
“The sooner you apply the better the chances of success as DEFRA will process the application as soon as it is received.”
There are five areas of eligibility. The first covers energy efficiency projects where investment in heat exchangers, solar screens and voltage optimisers on farms are being encouraged; the second covers nutrient management, where projects that improve the use of farm manures and slurries are being considered, including investment in slurry injectors, mechanical slurry separation and GPS guidance systems.
Water resource management including rainwater harvesting and water recycling schemes can be grant funded as can animal health and welfare schemes with mobile handling systems, weighing facilities, EID equipment, slatted floors for indoor lambing, upgrade cattle crushes and equipment to assist in TB control.
Forestry businesses can apply for grants for capital projects which improve the economic value of forests through the efficiencies of improved processing, so eligible items include timber processors, forwarders and tractor mounted forestry grabs.
Mr Compton said: “There is a limited £10 million pot of money available with a strict criteria of how much grant is available for projects. For example the minimum grant of £2,500 (40%) is available on a project that costs £6,250.
“As this is a national scheme it is important that farming and forestry businesses in this area make sure they apply for their share.”
For more information on the Grant Scheme and for help and advice on applying contact Ben Compton at Bruton Knowles on 01452 880 180.