The first level of FBIS-C is now open for applications

Before applying to the program, farmers should carefully consider whether FBIS-C Level 1 is the most appropriate way to meet the needs of their farm business, especially given the increasing cost pressures for farming families. local farmers this winter.

The first tier is designed to support farm sustainability and is for projects costing between £5,000 and £30,000 of eligible costs based on a reference price. Reference item prices have been revised from previous installments, but given levels of inflation and currency fluctuations, they may now not reflect the current market situation. The grant rate can be up to 40% of eligible costs, with the maximum grant available to a farming business being set at £12,000 for tranches three and four. Applicants who were successful in the first and/or second installment are eligible to re-apply for the full grant in the fourth installment less any amount they may have received in the third installment.

Low Emission Slurry Application Equipment (LESSE) is again featured in the scheme, however, in this tranche, some farmers will find themselves ineligible to apply. Program rules prevent DAERA from funding anything that is a legal requirement and as it is now a legal requirement for some farmers to use LESSE, these companies will not be able to apply for these items in this program.

Past experiences show that many farmers delay submitting grant applications at the last minute, with the majority often arriving on the last day.

Due to the requirement to obtain a letter from the bank and complete the “Make Safer” online assessment, this approach is not a good idea as potential candidates must allow time for organizing, downloading and sending these elements.

A bank letter template is available online. However, some banks may use an alternative format and details of what is required can be found on the DAERA website. While some banks will issue these letters over the counter, others may take longer. Therefore, if applying for the scheme, farmers should contact their bank as soon as possible to ensure they have the letter in time for the deadline.

If the program is oversubscribed, eligible applications will be scored against the criteria; thematic group of the item (46 points), value for money (39 points), age of the candidate (five points), level of education (five points), new candidate (five points).

UFU encourages farmers to think carefully about the items they need before applying to the program and to consider “bundling” items. Farmers should only apply for items they intend to buy and really need.

Following lobbying by the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), there are a few more items in this bracket and all items have been given a new code and prices have been adjusted. Therefore, farmers should ensure that they use the list of items published for the fourth installment of the scheme. Each item listed in the program has been assessed against the central themes of the rural development program and ranked accordingly, with the first category being the highest. These brackets will serve as a selection criterion, and it is important to note that the lowest bracket requested will determine the score to be awarded against this criterion.

There is a lot of useful information and advice on the DAERA website and UFU advises members to read and consider them carefully before submitting applications for this program.

About Keneth T. Graves

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