This latest EU funding has supported the launch of the Countryside Productivity Scheme – Adding value to Agri-food and improving farm productivity. As the names suggest, they are targeted at two audiences, those looking to add value to an agricultural product and those looking to improve farming productivity and efficiency. The maximum grant rate is 40%, up to £1,000,000, so there are opportunities for large and innovative projects. The minimum grant is £35,000.
Examples of eligible projects under the Countryside Productivity Scheme include:
- On farm butchery and meat processing equipment, which can include building erection/extensions
- Dairy product processing such as bottling lines, refrigeration facilities etc.
- Grain processing equipment (collaborative projects only)
- Robotic equipment to aid crop and livestock production such as robotic milkers or robotic weeders
- Increasing use of renewable energy by improving storage and distribution such as heat exchangers and battery storage for renewable energy
- The use of LED wavelength controlled lighting to aid crop production
- More efficient use of livestock slurries, manures and digestate such as advanced digestate processing systems or precision slurry application systems
Most of the schemes are open to businesses that are either new start-ups or existing business who would like to expand, however it should be noted that generators of renewable energy, i.e. solar panels, ground source heat pumps, cannot be funded. Efficiency funding is available for expenditure on the efficient use of the energy once it has been generated.
Inevitably, there are a few pre-requisites to all EU schemes:
- If planning consent is required for any element of your project, for example, if you are looking to erect a new building to house a butchery unit, the planning consent must have been granted before a grant application will be considered.
- A project that has already started will be ineligible which means that orders and deposits etc. cannot be placed before a grant application has been approved.
- Payment of the grant monies is retrospective. Proof of payment must be submitted as part of the application to cover the full cost of the project, including VAT. When making a claim, evidence must be provided to show that the applicant owns the item, so for example hire-purchase items will not be eligible until the final instalment has been paid.
- Other than for smaller items, three quotes must be provided for all items of expenditure.
Should you need funding support, our AMC Agents can discuss preferential rates currently available on fixed rates of interest for up to 30 years, which could compliment any investment.
For further information or to find out how we can help you with a grant application, contact Steven McLaughlin.
Steven McLaughlin FRICS, FAAV
Partner, Head of Rural Property Valuation