Fresh funding to drive farm improvements

Farmers can benefit from an extra £30m in government grant funding to help them raise the industry's productivity.

A fresh round of the Government's Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme will open in early 2019. Picture by James Hardisty.

The next application window of the Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme will open in early 2019, with £15m set to be made available, and then another £15m more in the future.

It will be used to help farmers buy equipment that will increase yields and boost productivity.

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A first funding round, launched in February, is on course to deliver grants worth more than £15m for equipment specific to cattle, sheep and pigs, as well as precision farming and resource management equipment for arable farmers.

Following industry feedback, more equipment will be eligible for funding in the second round, including fruit ripeness spectrometers and nitrogen-measuring devices for calculating fertiliser use on crops.

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Environment Secretary Michael Gove made the announcement ahead of the Government’s Agri-Tech Investment roundtable in London today which involves industry representatives from Bayer Crop Sciences, Elanco, Marine Harvest and Zoetis.

Mr Gove said: “The UK is a world-leader for talent in agriculture and technology, so there are real opportunities for our burgeoning agri-tech sector. Harnessing technology enables our hard working farmers to become even more productive and environmentally efficient.

“We are already seeing the rewards of investing in agri-tech, with around £15m of new funding announced today for farmers to purchase hi-tech equipment. We know that by embracing technology – such as fruit ripeness spectrometers or calving detectors – farm businesses can become more efficient, productive and resilient.”

More information about the scheme and the items eligible for the first round of funding are listed online.

Defra said further details will be published in early 2019 when the next round of funding opens for applications.