The second round of the UK government’s Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme is set to award £22m (€25.66m) to more than 3,600 farmers.
The funding initiative, which is administered by the Rural Payments Agency, allows farmers to apply for grants between £3,000 and £12,000, to go towards investment in innovative, productivity-boosting new equipment. The first round of the Countryside Productivity Small Grants programme issued £15m in equipment investment support to farmers in 2018; the second round, which will issue investment support to 3,677 successful applicants, brings the total funding provided by the programme so far to £37m. A third and final round of funding will open in the autumn of 2020.
Rural Payments Agency Chief Executive Paul Caldwell said: “The Small Grants scheme is extremely popular with farmers, so it is fantastic to see the funding is being made available for all the eligible applications we received for round two. Harnessing innovative technology can provide a real boost for productivity across the farming sector in England; and I am delighted that we are able to help unlock access to new equipment for many farmers.”
The second round of the Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme, which is expected to complete processing of payment claims by May 2020, expanded its remit to include a wider array of agricultural innovations than those which were eligible for funding under the first round. Grants were made available for tools including:
- Cameras for remote livestock monitoring;
- Technologies to minimise the compaction of soil in fields;
- Machinery which provides improved levels of precision when applying slurry; and
- Software which enables users to monitor levels of ammonia present in farm buildings.
Farming Minister George Eustice said: “Boosting farm productivity is hugely important and I’m delighted we’ve been able to fund all applications, supporting farmers to invest in game-changing technology. As a former farmer I know that new equipment can provide a real boost, saving businesses time and money while improving yields.”