Gove opens new £40m Countryside Productivity Scheme

Defra Secretary Michael Gove has opened a new grant scheme that will make funds available for investment in new technology has opened.

Under the £40m Countryside Productivity Scheme, grants are now available to help livestock, dairy, arable and horticultural farmers improve farm productivity through investing in new technology, such as robotics, to reduce cost or improve product quality. The funding can be used on diverse investments, from robotic milking machines to green technology.

The scheme also offers funds for farmers and food processors to invest in new equipment and machinery to improve the processing of milk, meat and fruit.

The Countryside Productivity Scheme is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and this latest announcement is the second phase of the Large Grants scheme announced in July 2017.

The first phase of the scheme included a £6 million fund for Improving Forestry Productivity and a £14 million scheme for Water Resource Management.

Speaking ahead of the 2017 World Dairy Summit in Belfast, Mr Gove said: “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.

“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 government also recently announced a £30 million Rural Broadband Infrastructure grant and a new Bovine TB Advisory Service supported by more than £1 million of RDPE funding.

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About The Author

Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.