Farming Minister Mark Spencer has announced that from today, until 4 April, farmers can apply for grants under the Productivity and Slurry theme. The grants will support the purchase of items that will make an immediate difference to farm performance.
The grants will be delivered through the Farming Innovation Programme (FIP) and Farming Investment Fund (FIF). They will sit alongside the existing Environmental Land Management (ELM) schemes with the aim of supporting sustainable food production while protecting our natural environment.
As well as confirming grants for the development of new technology, robotics and greener equipment, the government has also approved plans to introduce funding for smaller abattoirs. The objective of the new funding, details of which are to be announced later this year, is to improve animal health and welfare in the sector. The funding will provide equipment to support the rearing of rare and native breeds, encourage rural employment and help maintain the food supply chain.
Responding to Defra’s announcement regarding farming productivity, CLA President Mark Tufnell said:
Agriculture is a vibrant sector for research and development, with huge potential for increased productivity and automation. This announcement takes us one step closer to exploiting that potential, and farmers across the country will be looking with interest to see how they can use this support to improve their own productivity. Funding alone, however, will not fix our productivity issues. We know of many farm businesses who have scrapped plans for investment in, for example, on-farm reservoirs, because the planning regime is so woeful that it takes simply too long to receive the appropriate permissions.
So any financial support from the government needs to go hand in hand with regulatory reform to guarantee results.
We warmly welcome new funding to support small abattoirs, many of which are struggling to survive in difficult economic and regulatory circumstances. These local facilities play an often-overlooked role in the sector.
Read Defra’s full press release here.