The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs today announced that an additional £400,000 is available for the second tranche of Tier 1 of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme – Capital (FBIS-C).
Almost 3,000 applications were received under the second tranche of the Scheme, which is designed to support small scale investments that will improve the sustainability of farm businesses through the purchase of equipment and machinery, costing from £5,000 to £30,000, from a list of eligible items.
A DAERA spokesperson commented: “The total budget for Tier 1 of the FBIS-C is £15million, and with £7.1million spent on tranche 1, the Department has confirmed that £7.9million will be available for this tranche.
“This increased budget for tranche 2 will help to ensure that the future sustainability of even more farms in Northern Ireland is achieved through capital investment in equipment that will also bring about improvements to the environment, animal and plant health, occupational health and safety and production efficiency.
“This additional funding will also help to ensure that the target spend of £15million over both tranches of this popular scheme is achieved and will be a further boost to the wider agricultural and horticultural economy.
“We would again stress to farmers that they should carefully follow the scheme rules as set out in their Letter of Offer. Countryside Services Ltd have an experienced team in place to assist farmers and deal with any of their queries and can be contacted on 0845 026 7535 or via email to: email@example.com."
To date 1,480 Letters of Offer for grant totalling £7.5million have been issued. Letters of Offer will continue to issue to eligible applications on a weekly basis to those receiving the highest score until the available budget is fully allocated. It is expected that unsuccessful applicants will be notified by early June.
Farmers who receive a Letter of Offer should read it carefully and, if prepared to accept the terms and conditions of the scheme, must complete and return their Form of Acceptance to the FBIS-C, Tier 1 Delivery Agent, Countryside Services Ltd, within 28 days of the date of the Letter of Offer.
Farmers are reminded that they must only purchase the items as set out in the project schedule of the Letter of Offer and all items for which grant has been awarded must be purchased. If these key requirements are not met, financial reductions and penalties may be imposed on any claim for grant received. Successful farmers have four months from the date of the Letter of Offer to complete their purchases and submit their claim.
Notes to editors:
1. The second Tranche of Tier 1 of FBIS-Capital had an initial budget allocation of £7.5million. This has now been increased to £7.9million.
2. Eligible applications are ranked according to the FBIS-C, Tier 1 (Tranche 2) selection criteria and the available funding is being awarded to the highest scoring applications. As with Tranche 1, eligible applications are assessed against the following selection criteria:
- FBIS-C theme band;
- Value for Money;
- Online submission;
- Age of applicant; and
- Educational Attainment.
3. To be eligible for extra points, the applicant must be a named member of the farm business and be 40 years of age or younger on 3 January 2018.
4. DAERA would remind successful farmers to:
- Read the Letter of Offer (LoO) carefully and return the Form of Acceptance to Countryside Services Ltd within 28 days of the date of the LoO;
- Only purchase items that are detailed on the LoO schedule and as described in the Tranche 2 List of Eligible Items;
- Complete their project and submit the claim within four months of the date of the LoO; and
- That failure to purchase all items for which grant has been awarded, claiming for items that have not been included in the project schedule or not complying with the terms and conditions of the LoO (which includes purchasing items prior to the date of LoO), may result in financial reductions.
5. When all Letters of Offer have been issued, unsuccessful applicants will be notified along with details of the process to follow should they wish to seek a review of the decision not to fund their application.
6. FBIS-C Tier 1 is supported by DAERA and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
9. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or via email. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.
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