More than 3,800 farmers are set to benefit from £21 million in productivity-boosting equipment from the third and final round of the government’s Countryside Productivity Small Grants (CPSG) scheme.
The Rural Payments Agency notified successful applicants of their awards in late November and is now encouraging farmers to speak to their suppliers to confirm the items they wish to order are available before accepting their grant by using the acceptance portal by 18 January 2021.
Under the scheme, farmers applied for grants of between £3,000 and £12,000 to invest in new and innovative equipment – from livestock monitoring cameras to precision-farming technology – which help businesses save time and money and improve productivity.
Applicants have until midnight on 31 May 2021 to buy and install all their items, and submit their claim for payment. The deadline has been extended by two months to allow for potential delays caused by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement means that £60m has been allocated to farmers investing in technology to boost their productivity since the scheme opened in 2018.
Although the CPSG scheme is closing, the government said its support for investment in technology will continue as outlined in the Agricultural Transition Plan. As part of this, the government set out plans for the Farming Investment Fund which will support innovation and productivity. The fund will provide targeted support to businesses so that they can invest in equipment, technology, and infrastructure that will improve their productivity and deliver environmental and other public benefits.
There will be two levels of the Farming Investment Fund. The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund will offer small grants to contribute towards the purchase of a list of specified items; and the Farming Transformation Fund will provide larger grants towards the cost of more substantial investments in equipment, technology or infrastructure, with the potential to transform business performance.
Rural Payments Agency chief executive Paul Caldwell said: "It’s great to see that funding for all the eligible applications is being made for round three of this popular scheme. I would encourage all our customers to contact their suppliers early to ensure their items can be delivered ahead of the claim deadline.
"Innovation and technology has real-life impact across the farming sector, so I’m delighted to be able to help unlock this potential for many farmers."