Farming Connect is this week embarking on a new autumn campaign urging farm and forestry businesses in Wales to seek the advice they need now, in readiness to tap into more than £1.6 million of Welsh Government grant funding which will be made available to the rural economy in the coming months under the Sustainable Production Grant and the new Farm Business Grant – Yard Coverings scheme.
The Farm Business Grant – Yard Coverings scheme is a capital grant scheme, which will support improvements in all aspects of nutrient management by strengthening the existing on-farm infrastructure.
Eirwen Williams, director of rural programmes with Menter a Busnes, which alongside Lantra Wales, delivers all elements of the Farming Connect programme on behalf of the Welsh Government, says that farmers are able to access Business Planning and Infrastructure advice through the Farming Connect Advisory Service.
“It is important to seek expert independent advice now, so that you are fully aware of what improvements your business needs before you apply for grant funding,” said Mrs Williams.
Through the Farming Connect Advisory Service, Farming Connect offers up to 80% funding towards the cost of one to one on-farm advice, available through a number of approved advisors, located throughout Wales.
The Farm Business Grant – Yard Coverings scheme will support roofing over any previously uncovered existing livestock feeding areas, the livestock gathering area, manure storage area, existing slurry stores and existing silage stores. The scheme will also support some secondary items, including rainwater goods for existing buildings, rainwater harvesting systems and slurry analysis kits.
The scheme will be based on the existing FBG model but with a requirement to submit before and after geo-tagged photographs as part of the application and claim process. Detailed guidance documents on the grant support and eligibility criteria will be published on the Welsh Government website shortly.
There is no longer a requirement to provide proof of attendance at a Farming Connect strategic awareness event in person before making an application for funding, but Farming Connect will hold an online webinar on 4 November, where environmental consultant Keith Owen, a director of leading agricultural consultancy, Kebek Ltd, who is an approved Farming Connect advisor on infrastructure will join Richard Evans of the Welsh Government in providing information about the new schemes.
“A successful grant application could represent a win-win opportunity for you, for your business and for the future professionalisation and modernisation of the farm and forestry industry in Wales,” said Mrs. Williams.
For further information about support available through the Farming Connect Advisory Service, farmers are asked to contact their local development officer or the Farming Connect Service Centre on 0845 6000813.
Farming Connect, which is delivered by Menter a Busnes and Lantra, has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.