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Grant boost for Shropshire farmers

Shropshire farmers are being urged to take advantage of a multi-million pound grant offer from the Government that could boost their productivity.

Andrew Thomas from the agricultural team at Dyke Yaxley Chartered Accountants, in Shrewsbury, said the latest round of Countryside Productivity Grants had made an extra £40 million for farmers and agri-food businesses in England.

“This is an excellent opportunity for farmers to boost their business, by taking advantage of grants that are funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

“The main focus in this round of grants is to introduce robotics and precision engineering into the industry to improve both productivity and efficiency, so there’s a wide variety of projects that are likely to qualify.”

Mr Thomas said suitable projects may include robotic milking units; robotic weeders for horticultural units; precision slurry application; better use of renewable heat or electricity used on farms for equipment such as battery storage units; construction of a reservoir; water irrigation equipment; and packaging and processing equipment for a wide range of agricultural produce.

“The grants will be based on 40% of the purchase price, with a minimum award of £35,000 so schemes will need to be over £87,500 in value to be eligible.

“If farmers or agri-food businesses in the local area believe they have a project that may well fit the criteria, our experts can help them work their way through the application process and advise on the most appropriate award to choose.”

The Countryside Productive Scheme provides funding for projects in England which improve productivity in the farming and forestry sectors, and help create jobs and growth in the rural economy.

Administered by the Rural Payments Agency, the scheme offers grants for: water resource management and reservoirs; improving forestry productivity; adding value to agri-food; and improving farming productivity.

Smaller schemes which fall below the minimum grant threshold may be eligible for LEADER funding and farmers should contact their local action group.

For farmers in Wales, the Welsh Assembly is administering its own allocation of the funds. The Farm Business Grant for investment in capital equipment is expected to open its third round of funding in January 2018.

For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/countryside-productivity-scheme or contact andrew.thomas@dykeyaxley.co.uk

 Andrew Thomas, Client Manager