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Boost for farmers as Poots announces Farm Business Improvement Scheme doubled to £15M


Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has doubled the amount of money available under the latest tranche of Tier 1 of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme (FBIS) – Capital to £15million.


He took the decision following the huge response to his call for farm businesses to invest in Low Emissions Slurry Spreading Equipment (LESSE).


Now the third tranche of Tier 1 of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme - Capital (FBIS-C), which closed on 4 December 2020, will offer up to £15million in support for smaller scale investments to improve the sustainability of farm businesses.


Minister Poots said:


I am delighted to see such a positive response to the third tranche of Tier 1 FBIS Capital, particularly for Low Emission Slurry Spreading Equipment. It highlights the willingness of our farmers and growers to invest in the sustainability of their businesses.


I want to support that willingness to invest by doubling the allocation for this tranche from £7.5million to £15million. This will have a positive knock-on effect for many local agricultural and horticultural supply businesses and will contribute to my aim to develop a sustainable agricultural industry in Northern Ireland.”


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.


Letters of Offer will begin to issue for eligible applications from early February, commencing with those receiving the highest score and continuing over a number of weeks until the available budget is fully allocated.


• The third Tranche of Tier 1 of FBIS-Capital will have a budget of up to £15million, and will be delivered by Countryside Services Limited on behalf of DAERA.


• Eligible applications will be ranked according to the FBIS-C, Tier 1 (Tranche 3) selection criteria and the available funding will be awarded to the highest scoring applications. Eligible applications will be assessed against the following selection criteria:


  • FBIS-C theme band;

  • Value for Money;

  • Not previously successful applicant;

  • Age of applicant; and

  • Educational Attainment.


• When all Letters of Offer have been issued, unsuccessful applicants will be notified along with details of the process to follow should they wish to seek a review of the decision not to fund their application.


• Farmers who receive a Letter of Offer should read it carefully and, if prepared to accept the terms and conditions of the scheme, must complete and return their Form of Acceptance within 28 days of the date of the Letter of Offer.


• FBIS-C Tier 1 is supported by DAERA and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.


• Low Emission Slurry Spreading Equipment or LESSE can play a significant part in increasing the nutrient available for crop growth from slurry application. It also plays a role in reducing ammonia emissions and reduces the potential for water contamination and nuisance odours.


• 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.


• 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 later this year.


• Further information on the FBIS-Capital Scheme Tier 1 is available on the DAERA website at https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/farm-business-improvement-scheme or the Countryside Services Limited website at:


www.countrysideservices.com






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