More than £19 million has been awarded to over 3,000 pig, poultry, sheep and cattle farmers who successfully applied to the first round of the Animal Health and Welfare Equipment and Technology Grant.
These grants, of between £1,000 and £25,000, were allocated for a range of items, including livestock handling equipment to reduce lameness in sheep or cattle, sealed water tanks to reduce disease transmission in outdoor pigs and automated monitoring system and sensors.
Defra has also announced that a further £10 million is being made available to cattle farmers in England to help them replace ageing cattle buildings with state-of-the-art facilities. The Animal Health and Welfare Infrastructure Grant will allocate awards to farmers ranging from £15,000 to £500,000, prioritising new and upgraded calf housing. Through this grant, cattle farmers will also be able to access funding for roof-top solar panels on calf housing buildings.
Both grants form part of the government’s wider Animal Health and Welfare Pathway, which supports farmers to transition to higher welfare practices and systems, whilst encouraging sustainable food production.
Defra is currently seeking views from industry on the next round of the Animal Health and Welfare Equipment and Technology Grant. The large infrastructure grants are expected to be opened up to the pig sector in future, including to support the transition to new farrowing systems.
Farming Minister Mark Spencer said: “Our animal health and welfare grants are helping farmers improve conditions for their livestock. Not only is that good for the animals, it’s also a way to improve productivity and help them be more profitable.
“It’s great to see such enthusiasm for these grants, with over 3,000 farmers receiving money through the Equipment and Technology Grant from today, and many more set to benefit with our investment in new and upgraded calf housing through our brand new Infrastructure Grant.”