NPA clarifies contract rearers’ eligibility for Defra grant scheme

Businesses that rear pigs under contract are eligible for grants under the Countryside Productivity Scheme, providing they have an existing farming business as their primary source of income.

But the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) said it was unable to fund solely contract rearing businesses, as they are not covered under the funding measure the scheme supports, but that existing farming businesses rearing pigs under contract were eligible.

NPA senior policy adviser Ed Barker sought clarification from the agency after queries were raised over the status of producers keeping pigs under contract.

“When applying, applicants will be asked to provide justification for their application of pig equipment when they themselves do not own the animal – this will be clearly marked on the application portal,” the agency said.

“It is paramount at this stage that applicants explain that they are farming business that undertake some pig contracting and provide information of the (average/estimated) amount of pigs reared per year under their business.

“They will also need to provide detail of their main farming business, to demonstrate that the farming aspect, not the pig rearing, is the main activity undertaken by the business. These comments will assist us in determining the eligibility of a business to apply.”

Producers now have just over a month for apply for grants of up to 40% for equipment, including a number of specific options for indoor and outdoor producers, worth £15 million in total under the latest round of the scheme.

The scheme opened for its second round of funding in July, with specific options available for pig producers.

About the scheme

Farm businesses can apply for grants of between £3,000 and £12,000 to help them invest in new and innovative technology, with 26 new items have been added to the list of equipment available under the latest round, including some that will benefit pig businesses.

The pig-specific options include: 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, with a deadline of midday, September 3.
  • The application form is available on

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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.