British farmers are being encouraged to apply for a new Natural England grant that focuses on the reduction of ammonia emissions and conservation of nitrogen which can improve the overall efficiency of a farm. The aim of the Farming Ammonia Reduction Grant (FARG) scheme is to reduce ammonia emissions from farms by funding more efficient ways of storing slurry.
Talking about the scheme, Alan Falshaw, an agricultural business consultant at land, property and business consultancy George F. White said: “Ammonia is one of the biggest air pollutants in the UK and over 80% of ammonia emissions derive from the agriculture sector therefore Natural England is focused on reducing such emissions as much as possible and, at the same, improving the efficiency of British farms. The grant is applicable to beef and dairy farmers in England which use existing slurry stores and have been managing such stores for at least five years. If successful, not only will farmers be provided with the required funding to reduce the use of ammonia emissions on their land, improve air quality and reduce the loss of nitrogen, the grant will also help to create a more energy efficient farm as farmers will receive advice on how to increase the quality of the slurry as a fertiliser and reduce storage and field application costs for the slurry store.”
Applications are now open and farmers have until 31st January 2017 to apply. Natural England will go through all applications and then arrange for an inspection of the applicable farm to check eligibility and discuss ammonia reduction on the farm. If existing slurry storage facilities are suitable, a grant will be offered.
Falshaw added: “To maximise chances of meeting the specific criteria of the grant, farmers should seek specialist advice on how to best fill out the grant application form, what information should be included and what to focus on within the application. George F. White is currently working with many farmer clients across England who are wishing to apply for the scheme but unsure on how to best approach the application process. We’re currently assisting them, managing the entire grant application process from beginning to end on their behalf, ensuring the application form is fully and correctly completed and the relevant information is submitted.”
If you’d like more information or advice in completing an application for the FARG scheme, please contact:
Alan Falshaw – 07814 240737 / email@example.com
David Hume – 07739 321588 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Sally Horrocks – 07880 386612 / email@example.com
Farmers are set to receive an increase in their 2016 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payment due to the exchange rate being set at €1 = £0.85228.
The 2016 exchange rate sees an increase of 16.5%, compared to last year’s exchange rate of €1 = £0.73129, making it the most favourable rate since 2011. This year’s BPS payment window opens on 1st December and farmers will be hoping for a smoother and swifter payment than 2015.
David Hume, a farm business consultant at land, property and business consultancy George F. White said: “This news will be a welcome relief for farmers as farm incomes have been under severe pressure over the past 18 months. In simple terms, it means that lowland and upland farmers will see an increase in their area payment of around £12/acre extra than 2015, and those with moorland seeing an extra £3/acre. An 800 acre lowland farm, for example, will see around an extra £9,600 which could be equivalent to an extra 80t of wheat. A hill farm with 500 acres of moorland will see an increase of around £1,500, equivalent to selling another 20-30 lambs.”
The news will also help ease the frustration of many farmers who have not yet received their full 2015 BPS payment due to incorrect penalties and miscalculations made by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). The RPA started making ‘top up’ payments at the beginning of September to those farmers who had informed them of an incorrect 2015 payment.
David added: “Top up payments from the RPA will be paid into bank accounts without any prior notification and before a remittance advice or second claim statement is received. It is vital that these amounts are cross checked against what farmers expected to receive as even some of these top up payments have been incorrect. What has added to the confusion is that the RPA have also started making reimbursements for the Financial Discipline Mechanism (FDM) relating to the 2014 payment. It is also worth getting this payment cross checked too.”
FDM reimbursements have been calculated based on 1.3% of a farmers 2015 BPS payment, therefore those with incorrect payments may not have been reimbursed the full amount. For those farmers wishing to understand what they might be paid for 2016 or to cross check their 2015 payment, George F White has developed a ‘BPS calculator’. To find out more, please contact David Hume on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01665 511986.