Grants ranging from £35,000 to £500,000 are available to invest in productivity-boosting equipment such as driverless tractors, robots that harvest, spray crops and weed, and automated milking systems.
The new scheme, worth a total of £25,000,000, is the latest installment from the Farming Investment Fund – an umbrella fund which opened in November and is designed to increase the productivity of farms.
This is part of the government’s agricultural transition plan – the biggest changes to farming in over 50 years, which will reward farmers and landowners for actions that benefit the environment, supporting sustainable food production alongside nature’s vital recovery and working towards net zero.
The application window for the Improved Agricultural Productivity theme of the Agricultural Investment Fund opened today.
Farmers and agricultural contractors are encouraged to use this opportunity to apply for grants to purchase new equipment and infrastructure to improve efficiency and help us build back greener.
Other thematic grants will open later this year.
Farmers will also be able to apply for grants for new manure management systems.
They can purchase equipment that reduces acid in slurry, which increases nutrients for plants and reduces ammonia emissions and pollution.
This will contribute to the 25-year environmental plan, clean air strategy and government commitments to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Agriculture Minister Victoria Prentis commented: “We know how important it is for farmers to identify opportunities that maximize productivity and yields.
“These grants are intended to help purchase new, environmentally friendly equipment that can make a positive change to the day-to-day operation of a farm, as well as the wider environment.
“This specific fund has a two-month application window, and I encourage everyone in the sector to take a look at eligibility and funding details.”
Rural Payments Agency chief executive Paul Caldwell added: “If you are a farm owner and are considering investing in your business to increase productivity in an environmentally sustainable way, this fund may be right for you.
“There is a wide variety of equipment and systems that farmers can apply for through the Farm Investment Fund, and our new online eligibility checker is designed to make your application process even quicker and easier.”
The agriculture industry will play a crucial role in helping this government achieve its Net Zero ambitions and today’s announcement builds on a series of commitments in the Net Zero strategy. This includes a £124m boost to the Nature Climate Fund, helping to meet commitments to restore around 280,000 hectares of peat in England by 2050 and triple the creation of forests in England by the end of this parliament.
Farmers can also access business support through the Farming Resilience Fund.
The fund provides grants to organizations so they can support farmers and land managers who receive payments from the basic payment scheme.