Britain’s farmers have been invited to apply for a share of a new £40m grant fund to invest in cutting edge technology and new equipment as the government bids to drive rural productivity.
The fund, available via the Countryside Productivity Scheme, will be delivered as part of the £200m Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and is the second phase of the Large Grants scheme announced in July 2017.
Under the scheme, the government has made grants available for livestock, dairy, arable and horticultural farmers to help grow their business by investing in new technologies, such as robotics, to reduce costs or improve product quality.
The government has claimed farmers have the chance to make diverse investments, from robotic milking machines to green technology. Funds are also available for new equipment and machinery to improve the processing of milk, meat and fruit.
Announcing the fund at the 2017 World Dairy Summit in Belfast, environment secretary Michael Gove said the grant would help create more exporting opportunities for business owners and boost Britain’s economy.
“Farmers truly are the backbone of our rural economy and as the original friends of the earth, we want to support them to grow more, sell more and export more great British produce – all while doing good for our environment,” Gove said.
“This new funding is a wonderful opportunity for our farmers and food processors to invest in the technology they need to boost productivity, competition and, of course, sustainability as a key factor in future proofing our world leading food and farming industry.”
The first phase of the Large Grants scheme saw £6m set aside for forestry projects, and a £14m fund open for water resource management.
Meanwhile, in July, £30m was made available for projects to boost broadband and connectivity for rural business owners.
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