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The £40m Countryside Productivity Scheme - what you need to know

5th Nov 2017 / By Ed Barker

This week, further funding (£40m) was announced under the Countryside Productivity Scheme (CPS) for projects in England which improve productivity.

What is being funded?

Of interest to NPA members, this grant money covers:

  1. Improving farm productivity and
  2. Adding value to agri-food.

Somewhat frustratingly, the funding is quite specific in what it will fund, and is in fact quite restrictive for a lot of pig businesses. However, it is possible that members will fall under the eligibility criteria for funding and the type of project supported.

For farm productivity, the grant is to improve farm productivity through:

  • the use of robotic equipment and systems to aid livestock production
  • increasing the use of renewable energy (already in place) produced on farm by improving energy storage and distribution
  • more efficient use of livestock slurries and manures, and digestate.

An example would be a heat distribution network for the use of renewable energy produced on farm, in a pig building. Another could be a farm will an anaerobic digester wishing to install an advanced digestate processing system, including a separator, pumps, centrifuges and filters.

For agri-food, the grant is to improve the processing of primary agricultural products to shorten supply chains and deliver benefits to primary producers’. Projects must be for the processing of Agri-food products only, including meat. This can mean help in paying for equipment/machinery or constructing or improving buildings associated with meat processing.

How much is being offered?

A minimum of £35,000. The grants can only fund a certain percentage of eligible costs and there is a maximum percentage that applies. For improving both schemes, this maximum is 40% (meaning that the total eligible cost of a project should be £87,500). At least 60% of the project costs must be paid for with money from private sources. The maximum grant per project is normally £1,000,000.

Grants are paid in stages, in arrears and you cannot be funded for a project if you have already commenced works or incurred costs.

What doesn’t it cover?

The grants will not cover funding to:

  • generate renewable energy
  • fund anaerobic digesters

Can your business apply?

Assuming that your business can take advantage of the criteria outlined above, you can apply if you are a ‘medium’ size business or smaller (fewer than 250 full time staff and annual turnover of less than £42.5m).

If your project has had public money before, it does not necessarily mean you cannot apply, but you would have to mention it in an application and your grant may be lower to reflect it.

Applying

The handbook on farm productivity can be found here, the handbook on meat processing can be found here and application forms can be found on this page.  

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