I confess I got overly excited on behalf of our agriculture clients when my colleague’s inbox had the headline ‘£30 million commitment to help farms boost productivity’.
However, whilst this is obviously ‘good news’ in a way it is, to a degree, not news at all as this is not a new commitment, but a reiteration/ clarification of announcements made on the launch of round one of the scheme which was the subject of my blog post on the 8 February 2018.
From my discussions with clients, it was generally found that for the first round:
- The application process was reasonably straightforward
- The grant was popular!
More details to be released in 2019
Further details will be published in early 2019, when the next round of funding from Countryside Productivity Small Grants Scheme (CPSGS) reopens for applications. Based on the first round and the press release for 2019 reopening, it is clear that:
- CPSGS is only open to applications from farmers across the England
- The grant must be used to purchase high-tech equipment which will increase efficiency, productivity and yields:
- This will include equipment specific to cattle, sheep and pig farmers, as well as precision farming and resource management equipment for arable farmers
- Grants can cover up to 40% of the eligible costs in your application and this is increased to 50% for farmers in Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly, the remainder of the funds having to be funded privately
- The list of items eligible for the first round of funding (for information only as this round is now closed) can be found at Small Grant Handbook
- Following industry feedback, new items have also been added to the list of equipment eligible for funding in the second round, including fruit ripeness spectrometers and nitrogen-measuring devices for calculating fertiliser application for crops
- The equipment listed costs £12,000 – £30,000
- The total fund for the CPSGS is £60 million
- The application window for the next round of funding will open in early 2019.
To conclude with some input from Michael Gove…
Environment Secretary Michael Gove who made the announcement ahead of the Government’s Agri-Tech Investment roundtable in London on Thursday 11 October said “The UK is a world-leader for talent in agriculture and technology, so there are real opportunities for our burgeoning agri-tech sector. Harnessing technology enables our hard working farmers to become even more productive and environmentally efficient”.
I would echo this sentiment and as round one of CPSGS was extremely popular, I would suggest that interested parties keep their eyes peeled for more details of round two…
And for those based in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, I would suggest that you also check out Agri-Tech Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.