Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Michelle McIlveen today announced details of the capital element of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme which is expected to open next month.
Miss McIlveen said: “I am delighted to launch the Preparation Stage for the new farm Capital Scheme and to highlight some of its key features in advance of the Scheme opening formally in October."
The Minister continued: “The Capital Scheme will only be for farmers who are actively involved in farming. It will be an important part of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme package of measures aimed at improving the competitiveness and sustainability of farm businesses. The Capital Scheme will offer tiered support, linked to the needs in the farmer’s business plan. The grant rate for the Scheme will be 40% of eligible costs. Tier 1 of the scheme will support smaller scale investments, costing less than £30,000, to improve the sustainability of farm businesses. Tier 2 will drive larger scale, transformational investment in projects costing over £30,000."
She added: "I want to ensure that we invest in the next generation of farmers and those committed to developing themselves and their farm practices. Therefore the Capital Scheme will favour both young farmers and qualified farmers at the selection stage.”
All applicants must have a Category 1 Farm Business ID and will have to provide a ‘Making it Safer’ self assessment certificate as part of their application. The Minister said: “This Preparation Stage will allow time for farmers to start to prepare before the Scheme opens. I would encourage farmers to begin thinking about what they need to do now if they are interested in applying for grant support.”
Miss McIlveen highlighted an important online tool that the farmer can now use. She said “I want to take the opportunity to draw to all farmers’ attention to the “Making It Safer” farm risk assessment tool. Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in Northern Ireland and this year we have sadly seen a number of accidents and fatalities. It is vital that we improve health and safety on our local farms. I would encourage all farmers to complete this assessment, not just those who will need it for an application to the FBIS capital scheme.”
Further Information on the Scheme and available tools will be found on the DAERA website. Additional information will be made available ahead of the opening of the Scheme.
Notes to editors:
- DAERA is bidding for up to £40million, covering two tranches for each Tier of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme capital scheme. It is anticipated that Tranche 1 for both tiers will open in October.
- Tier 1 of the scheme will support smaller scale investments to improve the sustainability of farm businesses. All successful projects costing from £5,000 - £30,000 will attract funding and it is primarily aimed at the purchase of equipment and machinery. A reference priced list of equipment will be provided by DAERA for Tier 1 when the scheme opens.
- Tier 2 will drive larger scale, transformational investment in projects costing from £30,000 to an unlimited amount and will attract funding to a maximum grant of £250,000. Its focus will be primarily on construction projects and the purchase of higher value equipment linked to the needs in the farmer’s business plan.
- Certain items will be ineligible for grant support, 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.
- Details on obtaining a DAERA Category 1 Farm Business ID can be found at the DAERA website.
- In preparing for the opening of the scheme, all applicants need to review Health and Safety issues on their farms and should complete the “Making it Safer” self assessment certificate and submit it with their application form. This tool will allow farmers to carry out a simple risk assessment and it will help them manage their farm in such a way that it is safer for themselves, families and employees. The “Making it Safer” online Health and Safety tool can be found at the FarmSafe website.
- Applicants who are no more than 40 years of age on 28 October 2016, and who are named on the farm business, will receive additional points at selection stage for Tier 1. Applicants who are no more than 40 years of age on 28 October 2016 and who are head of holding will receive additional marks at selection stage for Tier 2.
- Applicants of any age who have a Level II (or equivalent) qualification in agriculture (or a related subject with a farm management module) will receive additional points at selection stage for both tiers.
- Further information on the scheme as it becomes available will be found on the DAERA website.
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