Farm Business Improvement Scheme - Capital Scheme

The Farm Business Improvement Scheme (FBIS) is a package of measures aimed at improving the competitiveness and sustainability of the farming sector. FBIS is an important part of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014 to 2020 and is being rolled out in a phased way.

Introduction to the Scheme

The Capital Scheme has two separate tiers – Tier 1 and Tier 2.

Tier 1 includes on-farm investment projects from £5,000 to a maximum of £30,000 project costs, and is aimed primarily at encouraging farmers to invest in equipment and machinery that will improve the sustainability of their businesses (i.e. environmental performance, health and safety, animal health and welfare).

The grant rate of funding for both tiers in the Scheme is 40% of eligible costs. 

Tier 1

Please note that Tranche 3 of Tier 1 closed for applications on 4 December 2020.

The objective of Tier 1 is to improve the sustainability of farms in Northern Ireland.  It will provide support for farmers and growers to invest in equipment and machinery that will help realise improvements in efficiency, environmental practice, animal health and welfare, and health and safety, associated with modern farming practices.

Tier 1 is for projects costing from £5,000 - £30,000 (eligible costs) and is primarily aimed at the purchase of off the shelf equipment and machinery.

Tier 2

An Expression of Interest (EoI) for the second tranche of Tier 2 of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme - Capital (FBIS-C) opened on 19 July 2021 and will close at 4pm on 13 August 2021

The focus of Tier 2 is on larger-scale investment to encourage a step change in the agriculture and horticulture sectors, and to drive transformational investment in future proofed, fit-for-purpose, modern infrastructure and equipment, guided by a robust business planning process within assisted farms.

Tier 2 is for projects costing from £30,000 - unlimited (within the overall maximum grant limit of £250,000 available under the NI Rural Development Programme 2014-20) and is primarily for construction projects and the purchase of higher value equipment linked to the needs in the farmer’s business plan.

Anyone interested in applying to FBIS-Capital Tier 2 tranche 2 MUST first complete the Expression of Interest (stage 1 of the application process) in order to be eligible to subsequently make a full application (stage 2 of the application process).

Full advice on the EoI (stage 1) for Tier 2 Tranche 2 of the FBIS – Capital Scheme is available here .

Applicants to Tier 2 will be required to submit a separate robust, viable and sustainable business plan as part of their full application, which shows that they have carefully planned their investment and what difference the proposed project will make in transforming their farm into a more sustainable, efficient and safer business.

All projects which involve construction or renovation of buildings, or which include equipment which could increase livestock capacity will require planning permission or a Certificate of Lawful use/Development to be in place before a full application is submitted (Stage 2 of the application process).

The EoI stage does not constitute a definite commitment from the Department to proceed to the full application stage of the scheme. The Department will assess the information received from the Expressions of Interest before a final decision is made to launch the application stage.

Possession of a valid DAERA Category 1 Farm Business ID

A Category 1 Farm Business ID is required for all applicants to the FBIS Capital Scheme.  Further information and details on how to apply for a DAERA Farm Business ID can be found here

Ineligible items/projects

Some items/areas will be ineligible for grant support through the Capital Scheme, such as: 

  • like for like replacement or maintenance;
  • consumables such as feed, fuel or spray;
  • investments relating to non-agricultural animals and
  • items that meet existing statutory requirements such as minimum slurry storage.

Further information on ineligible items

Additional information will be placed on the DAERA website as it becomes available.

‘Making it Safer’ risk assessment

All applicants to both tiers of the Scheme must complete the FarmSafeNet ‘Making it Safer’ risk assessment certificate where the applicant will be required to answer questions relating to their own farm on Slurry, Animals, Falls and Equipment (SAFE).

This is an online tool developed by the Farm Safety Partnership and it is available at the link below. A certificate will be issued on completion.

‘Making it Safer’ risk assessment (external link opens in a new window / tab)


If you have a query or wish to contact us about the Farm Business Improvement Scheme – Capital Scheme, please follow the instructions at the link below:

FBIS Capital Scheme - contact details

DAERA Identification numbers for business customers herds and flocks 2021 | Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (


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