Monday, 29 January, 2018

The UFU would like to remind farmers that Tranche 2 of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme – Capital Tier 1 is now open for applications until 4pm on Friday 2 February.

Tier 1 which covers projects £5000 - £30,000 has a ‘list of items’ available for grant aid that have been selected to deliver benefits to farm businesses in line with the key themes of the scheme (on-farm resource and production efficiency, reliance to adverse weather and mitigate climate change, animal/plant health and farm health and safety).  Over 30 new items have been added to this tranche and all prices have been adjusted since tranche 1.  The grant rate is up to 40% with a maximum grant of £12,000.  If a farmer received grant aid in tranche 1, they can apply to tranche 2 as long as the total grant support over the two tranches does not exceed £12,000.

Applications to the Scheme must meet the following key requirements;

Possession of a valid DAERA Category 1 Farm Business ID;
Completion of the farm safety “Making It Safer” online assessment;
Completion of a proportionate business plan (this is covered by completing the application form)
Provision of a bank letter confirming that applicants have access to the necessary funds for the planned investment. (DAERA template available online);


Once applications are submitted, each will be assessed against a number of selection criteria and marks attributed to the application.  Valid applications will then be ranked and Letters of Offers issued.  Farmers do not have to be a member of a Business Development Group to apply and there will be no additional marks for those members in BDGs.  Marks will be available for young farmers, those with level 2 education or above in agriculture or horticulture, and online applications.  In addition the items funded under Tier 1 will be banded to give a score and ‘value for money’ will be linked in. 


The UFU would encourage farmers to start working on their application now and not leave it to the last minute.  Some banks will take time to produce the supporting bank letter therefore if interested in the scheme, banks should be approached as soon as possible to ensure this letter can be secured in time for the deadline.  The deadline for applications is 2 February at 4pm.  It should be noted that retrospective payments cannot be made therefore farmers should not purchase items or start work before a Letter of Offer is received and accepted.


DAERA have provided a lot of information on their website including useful responses to ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.  The scheme will be delivered by Countryside Services Ltd and staff there are available to answer any queries on the scheme on 0845 026 7535.