New grants specifically for pig producers will be available under the under the next £15 million phase of the Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme.
The scheme has opened for its second round of funding today, with options such as ammonia monitoring, CCTV and pig weighing and handling systems available for pig producers. Farm businesses can apply for grants of between £3,000 and £12,000 to help them invest in new and innovative technology. There will be £15 million available in total, the same figure awarded to successful applicants under the first round of funding in 2018.
For the second round, 26 new items have been added to the list of equipment available, including some that will benefit pig businesses, useful options for both indoor and outdoor systems.
The pig-specific options cover areas like: fixed handling systems for pigs (indoor and outdoor), electronic pig weighing and sorting systems, weigh bars, piglet creeps, monitoring cameras, ammonia analysers, a new item that can be used to check the levels of ammonia in farm buildings.
Grants are provided for 40% of costs up to a ceiling and are available for all farm types, including livestock, horticulture and arable businesses. Farmers and rural businesses will have eight weeks to submit an application for this funding – the application deadline is midday, September 3.
You can read more about the pig-specific options and the payment rates here
An overview of all the overall scheme options is available in the annex here
The application form is available here
NPA senior policy advisor Ed Barker welcomed the new addition of specific pig options. “In the past these grants have been pretty food processing-focussed, but these are unique in that they are actually pig production orientated. It is well worth producers taking a close look to see whether any of the grants might suit your business,” he said.
Defra said evidence shows that smart use of technology boosts productivity and yields, but also improves animal welfare and the environment, for example helping farmers be more precise in the application of fertiliser, or ensuring that the correct levels of animal medicine are being administered.
Farming Minister Robert Goodwill said: “The small grants scheme proved to be so popular in the first round because it gives farmers access to equipment that can deliver quick and tangible improvements.
“This isn’t just about increasing yields; it’s also about using the best tools and equipment that can improve animal welfare and the environment, such as monitoring the levels of nitrogen in crops.”
Defra is developing plans for a third £15m funding round in 2020, with details to be confirmed later this year to give potential applicants and suppliers sufficient time to prepare.