A Third Round of the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS) has been announced by DEFRA. This scheme aims to help make your business more profitable and resilient whilst reducing the impact of farming on the environment and opens from 4th February until 4th April 2014. However it is strongly advised to get your applications in early!
This RDPE fund is to help farming, forestry and horticultural businesses to become more efficient at using resources. Over the previous two rounds Defra awarded grants totalling almost £19m to over 2200 applicants. The scheme aims to help businesses to become more profitable, whilst reducing the impact of farming on the environment. Defra expects to award grants in excess of £10m through the third round. Early indications are there is considerable interest in the scheme and you are strongly advised to apply early.
There are 5 themes in FFIS:-
- Nutrient management;
- Energy efficiency;
- Water management;
- Animal health and welfare; and
Farmers, foresters, woodland owners, agricultural contractors and horticulturalists can apply for grants of up to £35,000 developed to improve farm competitiveness and profitability by becoming more efficient at using resources. This scheme aims to help make your business more profitable and resilient whilst reducing the impact of farming on the environment.
The Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme funds projects that:
- · save energy and reduce carbon emissions;
- · reduce dependence on artificial fertilizers through better use of manures;
- · improve soil quality;
- · improve animal health and welfare;
- · save and recycle water; and
- · promote woodland management by processing timber more efficiently.
For any queries that cannot be answered by the Applicant Handbook, then you can try the Frequently Asked Questions. For more information go to http://rdpenetwork.defra.gov.uk , call the FFIS team helpline on 0300 060 4761 or email FFIS3@defra.gsi.
The guidance is well detailed and sets out what kind of equipment you can and cannot apply for under the scheme. The maximum grant per business for FFIS Round 3 is now £35,000 and the minimum grant is £2,500. Applicants who have received grant funding in previous FFIS rounds are eligible to apply and can apply for the full £35,000.
The grant will cover 40% of your eligible costs in non-upland areas and up to 50% of eligible costs in upland areas. The grant must be claimed in full by 31st January 2015.
Normally it is best to get a number of quotes to compare costs and quality. Then think about how best it will work for your business and if it fits in with your yearly plan. You can read about improving efficiencies for your business in our last blog if you are still working out your business plan for 2014.
If you would like any assistance with preparing your application or have any questions please call on 01260 224115.