Farmers have until 4pm on 13 August 2021 to complete an expression of interest (EoI) in taking part in the second tranche of Tier 2 of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme (FBIS).
The scheme, which provides a 40% grant for projects costing over £30,000, and up to a maximum grant of £250,000, has potentially £12m of funding available to it from the current Rural Development Programme (RDP).
However, the final decision on whether to proceed with Tier 2 is dependent on how much interest there is in the scheme, and the ability of farmers to get a project completed in 12 months.
That 12 month time limit is to ensure that all payments can be administered by the end of the current RDP in December 2023.
In any event, only those farm businesses which complete an EoI will be eligible to submit a full application at the second stage of the process.
Those completing the second stage will then have to submit a business plan to justify the investment.
All projects which involve construction or renovation of buildings, or equipment which could increase livestock capacity will also have to obtain planning permission or a Certificate of Lawful Use /Development.
However, the second tranche of Tier 2 is not just about building new livestock housing. In fact, projects that would lead to a decrease in the number of days cattle graze outside will be ineligible.
Proposals which seek to improve environmental outcomes will be welcomed. These include low emission slurry spreading equipment, covers for above ground slurry stores and precision technology such as GPS on fertiliser and spraying equipment.
A proposal that would improve farmyard water management will also be considered, as would a project that improves grazing infrastructure on farms.
“I would encourage potential applicants to read the guidance notes online and if they feel they are ready to invest, complete an EoI form or if necessary contact my Department with any eligibility queries before submitting the form,” said Minister Poots.