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Rural grants and funding Farmers Guardian

With further funding options due to be released this year across the UK, youngsRPS Rural Surveyor, Helen Proud investigates how farmers may benefit in this week's Farmers Guardian.

Does the New Year provide new funding opportunities for your business?

2022 didn’t appear to have a great deal of good news for many and the agricultural industry was no different. Stories of inflation of our key inputs of feed, fertiliser and fuel hitting 30% was unprecedented and seemed to dominate the headlines. Many sectors achieved good sale prices for their produce and so have ended the year in a not too bad a position but are now facing the same high input prices and without the promise of good sale prices for their produce.

As we enter a new year what do farmers have to look forward to in 2023? Farmers who want to boost their income through grants and subsidies are faced with an ever-increasing and confusing list of schemes, some that are available now, some that will be available soon and some that will maybe come available if the RPA can ever make a final decision on them.

This year farmers will complete their final Basic Payment Scheme application, before payments become delinked from the land from until 2027, but will see continued payment reductions year on year. Countryside Stewardship (CSS) will still be open to farmers to apply in 2023 and provides 5 year agreements, it also includes the stand alone capital grant for boundary works, water quality and air quality options. Anyone with an expiring Higher Level Stewardship Agreement may be offered an extension.

Additional Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) options are due to be released this year to go alongside the current soil standards. These include nutrient management, pest management and the hedgerow standards, as well as the advanced soil standard. This still won’t be the full range of options with more expected to be released in 2024 and 2025. The Animal Health and Welfare Review, offers to pay for farmers to get their own vet to visit and give recommendations to improve herd or flock health and increase productivity. The Local Nature Recovery, which is designed to create and manage habitats will start testing this year, although there are rumblings that the RPA are thinking about a rebrand, with feedback suggesting the name may put farmers off applying.

The new Slurry Investment Grant deadline is soon, closing on 31st January 2023 and helps farmers replace, build, or expand existing slurry stores to provide 6 months storage. This is only available in certain identified areas and so you will need to check online that you are eligible.

If you are wishing to diversify then the Rural England Prosperity Fund could provide financial support, as long as you are situated within a rural area. Examples of projects include food processing equipment, conversion of farm buildings to business units, tourism accommodation and event venues.

In these uncertain times it is so important that farmers know all of the funding options available to them, unfortunately there is still a lot of information that the RPA is yet to finalise and we can only hope that 2023 is the year that they provide us with the clarity.

Contact any of our rural teams for more guidance on any of the above options.