DAERA issues Farm Business Improvement Scheme (FBIS) Letters of Offer

Date published: 16 March 2018

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs today announced that Letters of Offer for Tranche 2 of Tier 1 of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme – Capital (FBIS-C) have started to issue.

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Almost 3,000 applications were received to the second tranche of 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.

Letters of Offer will continue to issue over the coming weeks to eligible applications, commencing with those receiving the highest score until the available budget is fully allocated.

Farmers that 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.

A DAERA spokesperson commented: “We welcome the high proportion of applications received online – some 99.5% of all applications. This has meant that Letters of Offer to this small grant scheme have started to issue within 6 weeks of the scheme closing for applications. 

“Following on from the success of the first Tranche, this second tranche of Tier 1, with a budget of £7.5million, will be a welcome boost to the farming sector with a positive knock-on effect to many local agricultural and horticultural supply businesses.

“Farmers 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: tier1@countrysideservices.com."

Farmers are reminded that they must only purchase the items as set out in the project schedule to the Letter of Offer and that all items for which grant has been awarded must be purchased. If these key requirements are not met then 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 has been allocated a budget of £7.5million.

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. (This was the last working day before the application opening date, similar to the approach for Tranche 1).

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.

7. Further information on the FBIS-Capital Scheme is available on the DAERA website. 

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9. All media enquiries to DAERA Press Office, Tel: 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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