£20 million for farming and forestry businesses

Agriculture Minister Jim Paice launched a new £20 million fund, the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme, to help rural businesses increase profits and reduce their impact on the environment in early November.

Farmers, foresters and horticulturalists can apply for grants of between £2,500 and £25,000 to invest in green projects and new machinery so their businesses can grow in an environmentally friendly way to:
• save energy and reduce carbon emissions;
• reduce dependence on artificial fertilizers through better use of slurry and manures;
• improve soil quality;
• improve animal health and welfare;
• save and recycle water; and
• promote woodland management by processing timber more efficiently.

Funds will be allocated between now and December 2013. Grants will cover a maximum of half of the total cost of projects in upland areas. The Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme is part of Defra’s Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE). Applicants are invited to contact their local RDPE delivery team.

In Cumbria there are two RDPE programmes: Cumbria Fells and Dales RDPE LEADER, Tel: 01768 869533, and Solway, Border and Eden RDPE Leader, Tel: 01697 349212. To find out which programme you should apply to, consult the map at http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/business/rdpe/rdpe.asp