With increasing pressure on farmers to make their businesses viable, what grants or subsidies are available to you in the UK and how can you make sure you win one?
Brexit has had widespread ramifications for the agricultural industry. One obvious change has been the end of the United Kingdom’s participation in the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) system of direct payments.
In 2020, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs unveiled The Path to Sustainable Farming. In England, the “path” involves moving away from subsidies of the Basic Payment Scheme to Environmental Land Management schemes. These ELMs reward farming practices that promote nature restoration and help to address climate change. This strategy of tying grants to environmental outcomes has been echoed in other regions.
Where to learn about grants
Farm grants and funding schemes vary throughout the United Kingdom. Below, find where you can learn more about grants in your region and examples of currently available grants.
Farming grants in England
You can find detailed information on grants for farmers on the GOV.UK website.
Looking ahead, the Slurry Infrastructure grant will open to applications this autumn. You can apply for a grant between £25,000 and £250,000 to help replace, build new, or expand existing slurry stores.
A range of Countryside Stewardship grants, including capital grants and woodland management schemes, are open for applications all year round. This is also the case for the new Sustainable Farming Incentive, which pays farmers for taking care of their soil or assessing the condition of moorland.
Farming grants in Wales
You can find a listing of key dates for farming grants on the GOV.WALES website.
Three rural schemes are closing to applications this August. Two of the schemes
Small Grants – Yard Coverings and the Nutrient Management Investment scheme, close to applications on 5 August. The 2022 application window for Organic Conversion funding from Rural Payment Wales closes on 26 August.
Farming grants in Scotland
The Scottish Rural Development Programme provides support to farmers for projects that protect and enhance the environment, support rural businesses and help the farming industry grow. You can find an overview of schemes on the Rural Payments and Services website.
One new program is the Preparing for Sustainable Farming (PSF) scheme. The PFS provides incentives to farmers and crofters to help them understand their carbon emissions and opportunities for carbon sequestration. Currently, you can claim funding for carbon audits or soil sampling and analysis.
Farming grants in Northern Ireland
DAERA offers a wide range of grants and funding opportunities to support farmers and rural communities. On its website, you’ll find information about current opportunities for grants
Grants are currently available through the Water Quality Improvement Strand of the Environment Fund, with applications open until 26 July. Forestry grants available through the Small Woodland Grant Scheme and Forest Expansion Scheme are open to applications until 31 August.
Tips for applying for grants
Stay informed about opportunities
Too often, grant application windows can open and close before you know they exist. Make a point of visiting government websites regularly to review upcoming grant opportunities. Your National Farmers’ Union can also be a good source of information, and can alert you to grant opportunities outside the government sector.
Have an up-to-date business plan
Having a clear business plan and well-defined goals makes it easier to identify which grants are suitable for your operation and give you a basis for your applications. You should also adjust your business plan if grant opportunities lead you to reevaluate your goals.
Maintain good farm records
The records needed for your grant application will vary widely. While some grant applications are merely box-ticking exercises, a number require detailed records for either the application or to prove you have fulfilled your obligations. You don’t want to miss out on a funding opportunity because of sloppy record keeping.
Be clear and concise in your application
A grant application isn’t a creative writing exercise. You should be clear and concise when applying for funding. Use language that reflects the requirements of the grant, and make sure you give a considered response to all the questions raised.
And if you receive a grant…
Deliver what you promised, and do it as swiftly as possible. If a number of farmers are receiving funding for similar projects, it can lead to shortages for items eligible for claims. Don’t get caught out, when supply struggles to meet demand.
Get in touch to find out how AgriWebb’s livestock business management solution can work for you [link to demo form] or read more of our articles, including on writing a farm business plan.