McIlveen urges farmers to get ready for Capital Scheme

Date published: 17 October 2016

Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Michelle McIlveen today announced further details of the capital element of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme, which is expected to open later this month.

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Miss McIlveen said: “The Farm Business Improvement Scheme (FBIS) is the major recommendation addressed to my department in 'Going for Growth'. It is a package of measures which will help support sustainable growth in the sector. We are now releasing some further information to help farmers and growers prepare for the capital element of the scheme.

“I am delighted to see that there has already been interest in the tools we made available last month. In particular a large number of farmers have already completed the on-line ‘Making it Safer’ Farm Safe risk assessment tool. I would encourage all farmers to complete this assessment on-line, not just those who will need it for an application to the FBIS - Capital Scheme. It is also encouraging that farmers are completing the Farm Safe Awareness module; although not required for the Scheme, it is an important tool in improving awareness of key risks on the farm.”

The Minister continued: “I am conscious that those applying to the scheme will be taking on additional investments at a time when many sectors have felt the impact of low prices and market volatility. Both tiers of the Scheme will therefore require an indication of support letter from a bank, or other lending institution, to confirm that the applicant can access funds to complete their project. This is especially important for Tier 2 which will drive larger scale, transformational investment in projects costing over £30,000.

“I also want to take the opportunity to emphasise the importance of business planning for Tier 2 investments. All applicants to Tier 2 will have to develop and submit a robust business plan which shows that they have carefully planned their investment; it is viable, affordable, and meets the objectives of the Scheme. It is essential to show in the application how each of the proposed projects applied for will make a difference, in transforming our farms into more sustainable, efficient and safer businesses.” 

Miss McIlveen continued: “To support farmers in considering projects, my Department has developed the Farm Investment Planner Mapping Tool. It is designed to assist the farmer with mapping existing and potential capital investment. Applicants for Tier 2 projects involving construction will be required to submit a Farm Investment Planner map outlining their proposed construction project.”  

The Minister concluded: “This further information will be useful for farmers and growers thinking about the requirements for, and viability of, their proposed projects, especially for Tier 2. I would encourage farmers to visit the DAERA website and familiarise themselves with the tools and information available before embarking on the application process.”

Further Information on the Scheme and available tools can be be found on the DAERA website. Additional information will be made available at the opening of the Scheme.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The DAERA Bank template letter is a key requirement for both tiers of the Scheme. It can be found on the DAERA website.
  2. Further information on the business planning areas and list of ineligible items for Tier 2 can be found on the DAERA website.
  3. The DAERA Farm Investment Planner map is an online tool designed to assist all farmers with mapping potential capital investment on their farm business. It can be used to label existing or proposed buildings or mark those for demolition. The approximate dimensions of buildings will be displayed including the length of each wall and the area of the building. This is not intended to replace any planning permission drawings, detailed architectural or engineer drawings, costs or measurements taken on the ground but it will assist applicants with scoping out the general layout of their potential construction project.
  4. The Farm Investment Planner map can be accessed through DAERA Online services. A Government Gateway ID will be required to access the DAERA online services. Guidance on how to apply for a Government Gateway can be found on the DAERA website. A link to online services can be found under the quick links section on the DAERA homepage. This map will be required alongside other supporting documentation which will be explained in future releases.
  5. 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, their families and employees. The “Making it Safer” online Health and Safety tool can be found on their website. A link to this tool can be found at the quick links section of the DAERA homepage. Farmers are also encouraged to complete the on-line Farm Safe awareness module.
  6. Further information on the Scheme as it becomes available will be found on the DAERA website.
  7. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or email DAERA Press Office:
  8. Please note that the out of office hours pager number has changed. Any queries, please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 976 126 and your call will be returned.
  9. Follow us on Twitter @daera_ni

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