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Defra issues £23.5m to rural businesses

Farming minister George Eustice unveiled the small grants scheme with the aim of "revolutionising" the rural economy

Defra issues £23.5m to rural businesses

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The UK farming minister George Eustice has released £23.5 million in small grants to help “revolutionise” farms.

Eustice announced 3,500 grants had been allocated from the Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme (CPSG) while speaking at the Royal Cornwell Show today.

He told local farmers that rural businesses in the south west alone will benefit to the tune of £7m.

The scheme will help farmers in livestock and horticulture buy equipment to make their businesses more productive, with grants available to aid electronic identification of livestock, improve the application of manures, and introduce guidance systems to aid precision farming.

“It is fantastic to see this scheme has proven so popular, with a collective number of grants now worth £23.5m, and nearly a third of this funding going towards farms and businesses across the south west,” Eustice said.

“The equipment on the market today can revolutionise farms, saving time and increasing yields. This funding will enable farmers, regardless of the size of their business, to access some of the best kit available.”

The scheme, which closed for applications on 14 March, initially allocated £15m to contribute to the cost of farm equipment to boost productivity on farms. However due to the high number of quality applications Defra has increased the funding to £23.5m.

The Small Grant scheme is one element within the £200m package of RDPE funding announced last summer, which aims to boost growth and create jobs in the rural economy.

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