Warwickshire Rural Hub
New Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund to open in December
A sixth round of the popular Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund will open in December 2021. The £2.5 million fund encourages collaboration and knowledge-sharing amongst the farming community. To apply, groups must submit plans showing how they will work together and share knowledge to protect and enhance their local environment, in line with their local Countryside Stewardship priorities. Successful facilitation groups will also offer invaluable training, support and advice to potential applicants for agri-environment schemes. This year’s fund includes support for new environmental priorities such as the improvement of air quality through slurry removal, reduction of ammonia emissions, tree planting and shelters,
Watch answers to farmers’ questions on the Sustainable Farming Incentive
The Farming Forum recently held a question and answer session with Janet Hughes, Defra’s Future Farming and Countryside Programme Director, on the Sustainable Farming Incentive. Clive Bailye, Director of the Farming Forum, put the most-asked questions to Janet. This video is the first of two showing Janet answering the questions. The video is 23 minutes long. Watch it here.
Keep up to speed with the agricultural transition with the Future Farming Advice team
Deadline extended for applications to the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot
The Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme is one of 3 schemes being developed to encourage environmental land management. The full scheme will launch in 2022, initially for farmers in England who currently get payments under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS). There is currently a pilot scheme being planned and farmers who expressed an interest in taking part in the pilot have been asked to make an application by the extended deadline date of 30 September 2021. Defra is not offering any training on how to complete an application but it has provided three YouTube videos:
Funding for Catchment Sensitive Farming is nearly doubled to reach every farm in England
Defra has announced that the funding for the Catchment Sensitive Farming programme will almost double, with an additional £17m being made available over the next three years. The new annual budget will be £30m, up from £16.6m in 2020/21. The extra funding will provide more Natural England advisers to help farmers implement practical solutions to reduce pollution, including planting new grassland buffer strips to improve drainage, establishing river side trees to reduce run off into rivers and using better slurry storage facilities to avoid accidental spillage. The programme is a partnership between Defra, Natural England and the Environment Agency and provides free 1-2-1 advice to farmers to help them reduce water and air pollution through management of farmyard manure and soils among other things.
STEPS funding for farmers in priority catchments
The Severn Trent Environmental Protection Scheme grants offer farmers financial and technical support to invest in tailored solutions to help tackle diffuse water pollution and to protect and maintain biodiversity and the natural environment. To be eligible for support from STEPS, you must:
- farm or have land in a priority catchment in the Severn Trent region
- actively farm the land
Severn Trent will match-fund up to £10,000 per application. If you have any questions about your eligibility or your catchment area, you should contact your local agricultural advisor who will be able to advise you. Applications close on 31 January 2022.
New fund to increase and diversify tree supply
The Tree Production Innovation Fund has been designed to encourage the development and adoption of new technologies and ways of working that will enhance the quantity, quality and diversity of tree planting stock available for planting in England. The Fund is looking to support projects with outputs that will better equip nurseries to supply the trees required for new woodlands and urban planting projects. Applicants will be invited to apply for between £20K and £200K in grant funding to support innovative projects that address one or more challenges identified as barriers to tree nursery production. Visit this page for full details.
Access free business support with the Future Farming Resilience Fund
The Future Farming Resilience Fund is designed to provide business support to farmers and land managers during the early years of the agricultural transition. The support will be available, free of charge, from August onwards to any farmer or land manager currently in receipt of direct payments. Nineteen organisations have been awarded a contract to deliver the business support across the UK. The support should help individual farmers and land managers to learn more about:
- the impact of reductions to direct payments on their business
- how their business models might need to adapt
- business planning
- performance recording
- succession planning
Visit this page to read the contact details for the list of providers for Warwickshire.
Grants for wildlife-rich habitats in Worcestershire
The Natural Networks Programme is a partnership between Worcestershire County Council and Worcestershire Wildlife Trust offering grants and advice for projects which aim to create or restore wildlife-rich habitats. The programme offers free biodiversity surveys carried out by the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust who will assess your project site and make recommendations on how to create or enhance your land to maximise habitats for wildlife. Grants of £2,000 – £200,000 (representing 45% of the total project cost) will be available to help you carry out the recommendations suggested in the survey. Contacts for more information are: Don Gembeckas on 01905 843902 or firstname.lastname@example.org and Lucy Mayo on 01905 846741 or email@example.com
Funding for farmers in protected landscapes
The Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is a part of Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan. It will offer funding to farmers and land managers in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (such as the Cotswolds AONB), National Parks and the Broads. It is not an agri-environment scheme. The programme will fund projects that:
- support nature recovery
- mitigate the impacts of climate change
- provide opportunities for people to discover, enjoy and understand the landscape and its cultural heritage
- support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses
The programme is also open to farmers and land managers on land outside of protected landscapes. To be eligible the projects must benefit the protected landscape, or the protected landscape body’s objectives or partnership initiatives. The fund will open for applications on 1 July 2021 and you should apply before 31 January 2022 for funding in the first year of the programme. Visit this page for full information.
Duplex Investment Fund for capital projects that create jobs
Duplex Investment Fund is a new way to help finance capital investments by local businesses. It combines public sector grants and loans to give financial flexibility and ensure that projects proceed successfully. The value of the grant can be almost as much as the total interest payable on the loan. Once the capital item(s) have been paid for a grant is paid which is up to 40% of the total cost. Applicants must have been trading profitably for at least 2 years and be creating new jobs as a result of the investment. Read more here.
English Woodland Creation Offer opens for applications
With £15.9 million available in its first year, this new grant scheme supports the creation of a range of woodland types and sizes, while providing greater financial incentives for landowners and farmers to plant and manage trees. The English Woodland Creation Offer provides greater flexibility and recognition of the benefits woodland can provide for people and wildlife by offering additional incentives to ensure the right tree is planted in the right place for the right reason. The grant will cover standard capital costs for tree planting (up to a per hectare cap of £8,500) and annual maintenance payments of £200 per hectare for 10 years, as well as rewarding farmers and landowners for providing public and wider environmental benefits. To read all about the scheme, find out if you are eligible and make an application, visit this page.
Access funding to recover from the pandemic
The Recovery Loan Scheme is to help businesses of any size access loans and other kinds of finance so they can recover after the pandemic and transition period Up to £10 million is available per business. The actual amount offered and the terms are at the discretion of participating lenders. The borrower is 100% liable for the debt. The scheme is open until 31 December 2021, subject to review. Businesses need to confirm that they would be viable were it not for the pandemic and they have been adversely impacted by the pandemic. Visit this page for full information.
Coventry and Warwickshire Innovation Programme
Supporting the development of new innovative products and technologies for SMEs, the programme provides a range of assistance including one-to-one support, networking and access to grants of up to £100,000. Visit this page for further information.
Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme
A free service comprising one-to-one or group support targeted at new businesses, or established businesses with under 250 employees who want to grow. Visit this page for further information.
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