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Government commits £30 million for further rounds of Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme

Mon 15 October 2018

The Government commits £30 million for further rounds of the Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme. 

The second round of the scheme will be available from February 2019, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove announced last week. Following the popularity of this year's round, Sally Blowey of Stags Professional Services department considers how best to make the most of what's available.

Helping farmers buy the equipment they need to boost productivity and increase yields, the grant’s popularity in 2018 has led to an increased budget for the next round. Defra confirmed that 3,500 grants were awarded, amounting to a total of £23.5 million, a 57% increase on the £15 million originally budgeted. Due to this strong uptake, the new budget for 2019 has been confirmed at £30 million. Farmers will be eligible for grants between £3,000 and £12,000, covering 40% (50%) in Cornwall) of the purchase price for equipment. 

Specific items include:
  • Livestock equipment: handling systems, crushes, calving detectors, weighing equipment, calf feeders, EID devices, pasture plate metres and electric scraper systems
  • Arable equipment: precision farming equipment including GPS units, yield mapping devices, variable rate controllers and direct or strip till drills
In addition to these, new items have been added to the list of eligible equipment for the second round, including fruit ripeness spectrometers and nitrogen measuring devices for calculating g fertiliser application for crops.

As the grant was so popular in 2018 we would encourage farmers considering applying to act quickly when applications open in February. In the meantime, there are four ways you can prepare in advance:
  • Make sure your contact details on the Rural Payments Agency system are up-to-date and match those on your application form
  • Look at the previous round’s handbook to get an idea of products available and their cost
  • Make sure the products you wish to apply for meet the minimum grant total
  • Speak to suppliers early to obtain a quote or register your interest as supply shortages in 2018 led to difficulties in receiving funding
The application is online only and should take you no longer than 15 minutes to complete.

For more information, visit Gov.uk or contact a member of Stags Professional Services department.

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