Tag Archive: Countryside Productivity Small Grant

Farming Grants – Final Round

It was welcoming news to hear on the morning of the 7th October that the Countryside Productivity – Small Grants Scheme has re-opened for applications. This is the third and final round of the scheme making it your last chance to apply. In the past this has given a significant helping hand to many farming businesses over the years, wanting to increase the productivity of their enterprises.

As most farming businesses will now be aware with the UK’s departure from the EU, and the recent passing of the Agricultural Bill through parliament, businesses will need to be able to adapt quickly to operating in an environment of reduced direct subsidies. Therefore, there has never been such an important time for businesses to look at ways to manage and reduce their operating costs in an effort to improve overall profitability.

To use the example of a lowland livestock farm, on average, labour makes up over 45% of businesses fixed costs. Therefore, any attempts to reduce this labour requirement, or to improve the overall output for the same quantity of labour, would be a practical way of improving the overall efficiency of the business.

For this example, the addition of a livestock handling system or an automatic weigh crate, may significantly speed up some of the regular tasks on the farm, therefore improving resource use, and thus potentially improving profitability.

The scheme is offering grants at a 40% rate on a range of agricultural items aimed at improving productivity. An extensive list of over 80 pieces of equipment is now available, with items on offer to suit all farm business types. Popular items include sheep and cattle handling systems, direct drills, slurry handling systems and livestock cameras.

To qualify, the grant received needs to be between £3,000 and £12,000, which at a 40% level means a total spend of between £7,500 and £30,000.

The deadline for applications closes on the 4th of November, with the items having to be purchased and in situ, following an agreement, by the 31st March 2021.

With this being the third and final round of this scheme, those who may not have been considering investments of items such as these in the near future should consider their longer-term requirements.

2020 has undoubtedly been a challenging year for many agricultural businesses. However the support offered through the government-backed ‘Bounce Back’ loans, and now the re-opening of this scheme will certainly be of benefit to a broad range of the agricultural sector, which will assist with re-energising the industry, and improve its longer-term resilience.

If you would like any further details on the Small Grants Scheme, including advice on whether this is the right scheme for you or guidance on any other agricultural matters, please feel free to contact the George F. White Farm team on 0333 920 2220.

Countryside Productivity Small Grant (CPSG) scheme

Whilst the scheme has proved popular so far, with more than 3,500 grants worth £23.5 million being awarded to successful applicents, RPA are currently advising applicants that due to a shortage in availability of several specific items the scheme rules for the first round of CPSG 2018 have been amended to overcome this shortage.

The current list of known items are:

  • Fixed Cattle Handling System (SG2)
  • Fixed Sheep Handling System (SG28)
  • Mobile Sheep Handling System (SG27)
  • Squeeze Crush (SG5)
  • Mobile Cattle Handling System (SG1)

The amended rules only applied to these specific items and all other items within your Grant Funding Agreement (GFA) must be purchased, installed and working before you are able to submit a grant claim.

What you need to do
For the items above, you should check if you can buy the items included in your GFA from other suppliers. You can now do one of the following.

  1. Follow the amended rules, which are set out below. If you follow this option, your grant payment will be delayed.
  2. Withdraw from your GFA. There will be a second round of CPSG in the autumn of this year. If you do not want to follow these amended rules, you can reapply in the second round.
  3. Keep to the terms of your original agreement. This means all items must be bought, installed and working within 150 days.

The amended rules
The amended rules apply to specific livestock handling items only. If you choose to follow these rules, you must:

  • order, pay in full for, take delivery of and install all other items included in your GFA before the end of the 150 day period
  • order and pay in full for the livestock handling items included in your GFA at your own risk before the end of the 150 day period
  • submit your grant claim to RPA by the end of the 150 day period shown in your GFA, and tell RPA the expected delivery date for the livestock handling items
  • submit final proof that the items have been delivered, such as a delivery note, by 29 March 2019.

Defra will also be opening a second round of funding, due to open in the Autumn, giving farmers who withdrew their applications, the option to have it reinstated now or in the next round. The Rural Payments Agency will be contacting grant recipients who have an offer for livestock handling equipment but have withdrawn because of issues with livestock handling equipment, to inform them of this option. Any other supply issues should be discussed with the RPA separately.

Most of the items offered through the scheme are readily available from different stockists, so applicants are encouraged to shop around when looking for items so that they can claim as quickly as possible.

If you need any advice on this or other grant schemes please contact:

James Oliver – 01665 511982
Alan Falshaw – 01388 529539
Alice Johnson – 01677 425301