Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA has announced that 94% of offers have been accepted by farmers under the latest tranche of Tier 1 of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme – Capital (FBIS-C).
This follows the Minister’s decision in January 2021 to double the amount of money available to £15million, following the huge response to his call for farm businesses to invest in Low Emissions Slurry Spreading Equipment (LESSE).
More than 2,900 Letters of Offer were issued to farmers and growers under the third tranche of Tier 1 of the FBIS-C, which closed on 4 December 2020, to support smaller scale investments to improve the sustainability of farm businesses. Just under 94% of those offers have been accepted.
Minister Poots said: “I very much welcome the exceptional response to the third tranche of Tier 1 FBIS Capital, particularly for Low Emission Slurry Spreading Equipment. Over 2,700 successful applicants have accepted their Letters of Offer, just over half of which are for LESSE and other ammonia mitigating equipment.
“In addition to having a key role in reducing ammonia emissions, the use of LESSE can play a significant part in increasing the nutrient available for crop growth from slurry application and reduces the potential for water contamination and nuisance odours.
“Farmers have demonstrated that they are keen to invest in up-to-date methods and technologies, to help develop their agriculture business into one that’s more sustainable and environmentally aware.”
Notes to editors:
1. The third Tranche of Tier 1 of FBIS-Capital has a budget of up to £15million, and is being delivered by Countryside Services Limited on behalf of DAERA.
2. Eligible applications were ranked according to the FBIS-C, Tier 1 (Tranche 3) selection criteria and the available funding has been awarded to the highest scoring applications. Eligible applications were assessed against the following selection criteria:
- FBIS-C theme band;
- Value for Money;
- Not previously successful applicant;
- Age of applicant; and
- Educational Attainment.
3. Over 3,800 applications were received to the third 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.
4. Countryside Services Limited (CSL), who are delivering the scheme on behalf of the Department, began to issue Letters of Offer for eligible applications from early February, commencing with those receiving the highest score and continuing over a number of weeks until the available budget was fully allocated.
5. Unsuccessful applicants have been 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. Farmers who received a Letter of Offer, if prepared to accept the terms and conditions of the scheme, were required to return their Form of Acceptance within 28 days of the date of the Letter of Offer.
7. FBIS-C Tier 1 is supported by DAERA and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. To date, Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the scheme have offered £43million in support to farmers and growers.
8. Whilst a date has not yet been confirmed for opening a second tranche of Tier 2 of FBIS-Capital, which is designed to offer support to projects costing more than £30,000, the Minister is keeping this under review.
9. Any further capital support will take into account any further guidance developed by the Department on ammonia reduction and mitigation, and would be subject to funding availability. DAERA is working to develop a comprehensive and proportionate package of measures on ammonia and hope to consult on a strategy soon.
12. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office.
13. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
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