Defra launches £60m small grants scheme for farmers

Norfolk dairy cows. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Norfolk dairy cows. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

A new £60m government grants scheme has been launched to help farmers buy equipment to improve their productivity.

From today, farmers can apply online to the Countryside Productivity Small Grant Scheme to request funding of between £3,000 and £12,000 for up to 40% of the cost of eligible equipment.

Farming minister George Eustice, who announced the scheme while speaking at the Dairy Tech event in Stoneleigh Park, said: 'It's fantastic to see the scale of innovation here in Stoneleigh, where over 250 exhibitors are showcasing some truly advanced products and services which have come to the market for dairy farmers to improve productivity.

'The dairy industry is our largest agricultural sector and we want to make sure farmers can become more resilient, competitive and able to capitalise on the growing global interest in quality British produce as we leave the EU.

'By opening this small grants scheme, we hope more farmers will be able to access this equipment and embark on more innovative and ambitious projects.'

Defra said many eligible items are relevant to the dairy sector, including specialist foot trimming crushes and calving detectors, but the grants could be used for a range of equipment which could benefit the majority of livestock, arable and horticultural producers.

The scheme is different to other parts of the RDPE (Rural Development Programme for England) Countryside Productivity scheme as it uses an online application process and is targeted at supporting investment for specific pieces of agricultural equipment.

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It will be open to applications from February 7 to March 14.