Information about the latest round of the Farming Transformation Fund – the Slurry Infrastructure Grant – has been published by Defra. This highly-anticipated scheme has been designed to help farmers in England improve or expand their existing slurry storage capacity.
As with the previous rounds under the Farming Transformation Fund, the guidance has been published ahead of the online eligibility checker, which opens on 6 December, before it closes on 31 January 2023. The scheme will follow the same two-stage process as previous rounds, with an initial eligibility check submitted to and assessed by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), which will select applications to take forward.
This selection will be based on a priority scoring system that has been devised by Natural England and the Environment Agency, who have identified areas of the country where improved slurry storage would have the most beneficial impact on water and air quality. To help interested parties identify whether they are in a priority area, Defra has added a layer to MAGIC maps. This can be found under ‘Land Based Schemes - Other Schemes and Slurry Infrastructure Grant - Round 1’.
Details of the scheme
- To help dairy beef and pig farmers replace or expand additional slurry storage to six months capacity.
- The scheme will also fund the installation of impermeable covers on funded stores.
- The grant uses standard costs and specifications to get a fixed contribution towards the equipment.
- Minimum grant: £25,000
- Maximum grant: £250,000
- To apply, applicants must register their business with the 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 by the 31 January 2023.
- Stage 2 - For those invited to make full applications, this must be submitted to the RPA by 28 June 2024.
The CLA welcomes the launch of the scheme, and has worked closely with Defra and other stakeholders to ensure the scheme delivers for members. Both Defra and industry expect that demand for this scheme will be high. Defra has indicated that this initial round of the scheme will only seek to fund a limited number of projects, though more funding is allocated to future rounds of the scheme, which will run for multiple years.
As with previous rounds of the Farming Transformation Fund, which has funded large infrastructure projects, 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 delivery has every chance of being successful.