Warwickshire Rural Hub
Support and Funding
Second round of Slurry Infrastructure Grant opens
Defra has announced that farmers can apply for the new round of the Slurry Infrastructure grant. £74 million of grant funding is available in Round 2, which is more than double the funding offered in Round 1. This grant will help farmers invest in improved slurry infrastructure to tackle water pollution, improve air quality and make better use of organic nutrients. Farmers can apply for grants of £25k – £250k towards different types of slurry store, slurry store cover and supporting equipment. Several amendments have been made to the scheme following feedback from industry after the first round. These include an increase in the amount of storage pig farmers can apply for; offering grants towards a slurry separator; and the option to retrofit covers onto existing stores. Read the full scheme guidance and what’s on offer on this page.
Capital funding available for rural businesses and communities in Stratford on Avon District
There is an opportunity for rural businesses, community facilities and circular economy projects to secure some capital funding from the 2023-2024 Rural England Prosperity Funding (REPF) to spend fully before the end of March 2024. Stratford-on-Avon District Council still have some funding remaining for the 2023-2024 financial year and are looking for expressions of interest and applications by Friday 15th December at 1700. The funding awarded to the successful applicants is likely to be made available at the beginning of February 2024, allowing a two month spend window before the end of this financial year.
If you have a plan and need some funding for some capital equipment which can be spend during this financial year, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and cc in email@example.com before the deadline to assess the fit for the funding call.
Read more about the Prosperity Funding on this page.
Watch a webinar for livestock and grassland farmers on SFI and Animal Health and Welfare Pathway
On Monday 20 November at 4.00pm, Defra will host a webinar for livestock and grassland farmers to learn more about the funding opportunities available in England. The webinar will focus on the Sustainable Farming Incentive and the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway in particular. Colleagues from the Rural Payments Agency will be available to answer questions. The 1-hour session will be recorded and a link to the recording will be made available after 20 November. Read more and register to attend the webinar on this Defra blog post.
All the guidance on de-linked payments
The Rural Payments Agency is replacing the BPS in England with delinked payments from 2024. The RPA will pay delinked payments annually between 2024 to 2027 and the amount paid will decrease each year, with 2027 being the final year of delinked payments. To receive delinked payments, you must be eligible for BPS payments in 2023 (with some exceptions on inherited land) and have a reference amount. The reference amount will normally be the average BPS payment in the reference period, which is the BPS 2020 to 2022 scheme years. If you did claim in 2023, but did not claim BPS in the reference period, you will only have a reference amount if BPS reference data has been transferred to you.
The RPA has started writing to farmers about the transition from BPS payments to de-linked payments. To read all the guidance on how de-linked payments are calculated, how they affect different types of businesses and how they are treated for tax purposes. please visit this page.
Watch how to apply for an SFI agreement
Defra has produced a video showing farmers how to apply for an SFI agreement. Visit this page on YouTube to watch the video.
Free programme for businesses which employ drivers
Driving for Better Business is working with the Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership to deliver tools, information and resources tailored specifically to help local businesses with staff who drive for work. Driving for Better Business is a government-backed National Highways programme. Their mission is to improve the levels of compliance for all those who drive or ride for work by demonstrating the significant business benefits of managing work-related road risk more effectively. It is free to join and all the resources are free to access and distribute. Check out some of the improvements that have been seen by other local firms and then join the programme to see if your business can benefit. Visit this website to read more.
Funded advice on new and existing woodland is seeking further applications
The Protect, Improve, Expand and Sustain (PIES) project is a partnership between Sylva Foundation, Forest Canopy Foundation and Grown in Britain. The partnership is working closely with Forestry Commission and NFU. Launched in 2022, the project has already approved 80 funded advisory visits and now with more funding available is inviting further applications. Farmers and landowners taking part receive funded advice, including a site visit and customised report, plus ongoing online support and technical services. Eligible farmers include those with existing woodland that does not have a current management plan in place plus those interested in creating new woodland on their land. To learn more about the project visit this page.
New funding for small scale food and farming
The Real Farming Trust has launched new funding for small-scale food & farming – and you register your interest now LEAP offers a mix of loan & grants for agroecological veg box schemes, micro-dairies, bakeries, ethical supermarkets and more. Find out more and register your interest on this page.
Defra set up a new single page for the Sustainable Farming Incentive
A new landing page on the Defra website has been created for farmers who are thinking of or will be applying to the Sustainable Farming Incentive. The page lets you register your interest in SFI, sets out why farmers should apply for an agreement, lists the 23 actions you can apply for, gives feedback from farmers and signposts farmers to other grant funding available. Visit the page on this link.
Most farmers are no longer required to register their interest in the scheme and can now apply directly. All farmers who have a live 2023 agreement before the end of the year will receive an early payment. This is worth 25% of the value of their annual agreement and will be received in the first month of the agreement.
Fully funded training courses in forestry and arboriculture now available
The newly expanded Forestry and Arboriculture Training Fund is now open for applications. Funding covers training costs for short, practical forestry and arboriculture courses. The fund is designed for people seeking to build skills or those considering a change of career into these sectors. Forestry Commission is offering to cover 100% of the costs for eligible training courses, meaning these are free for applicants. Funding will be paid directly to the training provider. Applicants should note that expenses, such as travel are not covered. Funding will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Visit this page to read all about the fund together with the list of eligible courses and training providers.
Read how to prepare for an application to SFI on 18 September
The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) is a scheme which supports food production and the environment. Agreements will start the month after they are accepted. SFI is not competitive and anyone who applies and is eligible will be offered an agreement. You can enter as much land as you choose: there is no minimum or maximum area and you can choose how many actions you do. Once you’re in SFI, you can add more land and actions to your agreement each year. To help with cash flow, farmers who have a live 2023 agreement before the end of the year, will receive an accelerated payment in the first month of their agreement. It’s possible to be in SFI and Countryside Stewardship at the same time if the actions are compatible and you are not being paid for the same action twice.
Read this Defra blog post which explains what farmers need to do to prepare for an application when the window opened on 18 September 2023.
You can also watch a webinar discussion between Head of SFI and the NFU Senior Countryside Adviser on how to prepare for the scheme.
Watch a recording of a webinar on funding for farmers
On Wednesday 6 September, Defra held a webinar for farmers to learn more about the funding available in England. Policy leads working on the Sustainable Farming Incentive, the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund and the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway explained the offer and answered questions. You can watch a recording of the webinar on this link.
Apply now for a calf housing grant
Animal Health and Welfare Infrastructure grants are an opportunity for farmers to receive co-funding for large infrastructure projects that help to continually improve the health and welfare of their animals. Grants of between £15,000 and £500,000 are available. The first of these grants, the Calf Housing for Health and Welfare grant, is available for cattle keepers to co-fund new and upgraded calf housing that improves social contact (rearing calves in small groups) and the ambient environment. This includes adequate ventilation, protection from draughts, and suitable temperature and humidity. Before applying, please read the official guidance on GOV.UK. It explains the eligibility criteria for the grant and the information you will need to supply. It also sets out the application process:
- Stage 1: the online checker
- Stage 2: an ambient environment assessment
- Stage 3: the full application
So, once you’ve read the guidance, use the online checker to determine whether you can apply for the grant. You have until 30 November 2023 to do this.
SFI to start accepting applications from 18 September
Defra has announced that farmers can sign up for the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) from 18 September and start registering their interest from 30 August through the online Rural Payments service. There are 23 actions on offer under the new and improved 2023 scheme, including on soil health, moorland, hedgerows, integrated pest management, farmland wildlife, buffer strips, and low input grassland. Full details of the SFI 2023 were published in June this year in a detailed handbook so that farmers can plan ahead for autumn planting and what they will apply for. Farmers are able to be in SFI and Countryside Stewardship at the same time as long as the actions are compatible, and they are not being paid for the same action twice.
Updated Defra leaflet explaining the Sustainable Farming Incentive payments available
Defra has updated their Sustainable Farming Incentive leaflet which sets out the key features of the scheme, who is eligible to apply and how to apply. In addition there is a list of the SFI actions and annual payments available. You can download the leaflet below.
A leaflet on the payments available to arable and horticulture farmers is also available below. These include Countryside Stewardship, SFI and Landscape Recovery grants.
Grant available in the Severn catchment for winter tree planting
Severn Woodlands Creation Grant Scheme is available for landowners in the Severn catchment for capital works and planting. There is no lengthy application paperwork to fill in, simply liaise with Severn Rivers Trust and a landowner agreement will be sent to you pre-filled. Contractors undertaking capital works can be organised, managed, and paid directly by Severn Rivers Trust.
Tree planting options include native broadleaf species with an option for natural regeneration in areas with suitable seed source. Capital items, such as trees, guards, fencing and gates, are all covered within the scheme.
The total landowner payment of £5,000/ha (pro-rata) is split into two payments: the first payment after completion of capital works of £2,500/ha (pro-rata) with a second payment after a satisfactory 5-year monitoring visit of £2,500/ha (pro-rata). Read more on this page. The end date is March 2025.
Read about all the government grants for farming businesses available in 2023
In 2023, more than £168m of funding will be available to farmers through a variety of grants. To make it easier for you to see what’s available and plan, Defra has published a roundup of all the grants on offer in 2023 in one place. Under each grant, there is a short summary of:
- what the grant is for
- who it’s for
- how much you can get
- the fund or competition it’s part of
- dates to note
- links to official guidance on GOV.UK
- blog posts written by the team for background reading.
Read the list of grants on this page.
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Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors
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