The Countryside Productivity Small Grants Scheme was designed to help farmers to buy the equipment they need to boost productivity. It was launched in February with an application deadline in March.
The scheme proved very popular, despite the very short application window. More than 3,500 grants worth £23.5 million were awarded to successful applicants. The scheme offered a grant of 40% towards the estimated costs of a wide variety of farm equipment.
Unfortunately, many successful applicants have experienced problems sourcing the relevant equipment within the scheme’s strict 150 day deadline. DEFRA have now thankfully responded by relaxing the rules slightly. Their press release on 13th June confirmed the following:
“From today, farmers who purchase their equipment and submit their claims within the 150 day deadline can take delivery of their equipment after the 150 days and will receive payment once the item has been delivered.”
Local land agent Charles Daniell, who dealt with a number of successful applications, was pleased to hear the latest news:
“Credit where it is due, this is a welcome, pro-active move by DEFRA and will be a great relief to many. It is also good to hear that a second round of funding will be opening in the autumn. We don’t yet know what items will be funded, but if it is anything like the first round, I would urge farmers to be ready to make their applications as soon as the scheme opens. Items such as cattle or sheep handling systems, along with seed drills and dairy equipment were very popular last time and probably will be again.”
More information is available online from https://www.gov.uk/guidance/countryside-productivity-scheme