Thousands of farmers set to benefit from £15m fund
Letters of Offer for a £15million investment scheme have started to issue to thousands of farmers, Agriculture Minister Gordon Lyons has confirmed. The third tranche of Tier 1 FBIS Capital attracted over 3,800 applications. This tranche of Tier 1 will support smaller scale investments to improve the sustainability of farm businesses, with a particular emphasis on businesses investing in Low Emissions Slurry Spreading Equipment (LESSE).
Minister Lyons said:
“I am delighted that Letters of Offer have started to issue for the third tranche of Tier 1 FBIS Capital. I am very encouraged by the willingness of our farmers and growers to invest in the sustainability of their businesses, and particularly in Low Emissions Slurry Spreading Equipment.
“Not only does this fund immediately benefit farmers, it also has a lasting and positive impact on our environment, using up to date methods and technologies to help farmers develop their agriculture business into one that’s more sustainable and environmentally aware. It will also have a knock-on benefit for local agricultural and horticultural supply businesses and contribute to the NI economy.
“With £15million funding available for this tranche, Letters of Offer will continue to issue over the next weeks until the budget is fully allocated.”
The Letter of Offer will enable farmers to progress to the next stage of their project. It is important that farmers complete and return their Form of Acceptance as soon as possible and no later than 28 days from the date of the Letter of Offer.
The third Tranche of Tier 1 of FBIS-Capital will have a budget of up to £15million, is being delivered by Countryside Services Limited on behalf of DAERA.
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.
Eligible applications have been 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 were assessed against the following selection criteria:
FBIS-C theme band (mostly comprised of LESSE items);
Value for Money;
Not previously successful applicant;
Age of applicant; and
Letters of Offer have started to issue and 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.