Last week saw the launch of the latest round of the Farming Transformation Fund (FTF). The FTF is a sub-fund of the Farming Investment Fund and is centred around themed windows which each deliver funding for large capital investment.
This latest window is called the ‘adding value’ round and will provide funding for items and infrastructure which help farmers and food producers in England add value to their products after they have been harvested or reared. For example, this could include a project to build a farm shop, install a milk vending machine, or the purchasing of equipment that helps farmers process animal hides to sell. Those that would like to install equipment which helps them wash, sort and grade products, or create a new product, such as cheese from milk, could also be eligible for funding.
Diversifying income streams by creating new income generating opportunities will be particularly important for some farming businesses, given the changes in agricultural policy and the move away from the Basic Payment Scheme. Clearly pursuing a new project will have financial costs as well as time and labour, but it could increase the overall resilience of a farming business. For those who have identified an opportunity to pursue on their farm, this latest round of the FTF could provide valuable assistance.
The application process follows the same design as previous rounds of the FTF.
Key details include:
Key details include:
- Grants cover up to 40% of the eligible costs of eligible equipment.
- Minimum grant: £25,000 (total project cost of £62,500)
- Maximum grant: £300,000 (total project cost of £750,000)
- £30 million has been allocated to this round.
- To apply, applicants must register their business with the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) online or via the RPA helpline. The RPA assesses and administers the grants on behalf of Defra.
- There is a two stage online application process:
- Stage 1- Use the online checker to assess your project’s eligibility and strength by the 21st July 2022. Submit to the RPA.
- Stage 2- If invited to make a full application, email application and all supporting documents to the RPA by 31st January 2024
- Those that have already applied for funding another Farming Transformation Fund theme can still apply
Those interested in pursuing the scheme should use this eligibility checker which, based on your outline project details, will judge the strength of the project as either weak, average or strong. You then have the opportunity to submit your outline application to the RPA, who email your score, application reference number and invite you to make a full application or otherwise.
The scheme is competitive and not all applications will be successful. Applications are scored and the RPA will allocate funding to projects which deliver on their stated funding priorities, including those which shorten supply chains, improve business resilience and are environmentally sustainable. The full list of priorities is available here.
Like any business project or new venture, applicants should ensure that they have a clear project plan for delivery, as well as the skills, time and resources to dedicate to ensuring the project has every chance of being successful.
The full scheme guidance is available here.