Increasing Farm Productivity – Am I Eligible?

About this Grant Programme

The farm productivity grant programme has been developed to encourage agricultural businesses in the Plain Action and Vale Action LEADER areas to invest in innovative practices and new technologies to help them to become more sustainable and productive. There are 3 main aims of this programme, these are: to improve the overall performance and sustainability of agricultural holdings, to support animal heath and welfare improvements and to support the processing, marketing and/or development of agricultural products (Annex 1 products only).

Grants are available for between £5,000 and £100,000.  60% match funding required.

Examples of the types of projects we could fund include;

  • Purchase of equipment and machinery to improve the efficiency of the use of energy, water, fertilizer and other direct inputs (e.g precision farming or new technologies).
  • Purchase of equipment and machinery to reduce impact on soils (e.g specialist drills to enable low or zero tillage farming and to reduce emissions.
  • Investment to improve facilities for slurry/manure management.
  • Investment to modernise or mechanise production and increase productivity.
  • Purchase of equipment and machinery to improve the animal feed efficiency as well as of other products.
  • Improvements to livestock housing to improve animal welfare or energy efficiency.
  • Purchase of equipment or machinery to improve animal handling, e.g. robotic milking systems.
  • Investment in equipment, technologies or processes to reduce waste.
  • Investment in equipment, technologies or processes to develop new or higher quality products.
  • Business start-ups.
  • Marketing activity, excluding hard copy material, associated with the above investments.
  • Construction or conversion of buildings to be used for processing activities.
  • Acquisition or development of computer software
  • Acquisition of patents, licences, copyrights, trademarks
  • The costs of construction, acquisition (including leasing) or improvement to immovable property
  • The purchase or hire purchase of new machinery and equipment (including second-hand equipment)
  • General costs such as architect, engineer and consultants fees up to a maximum of 15% of total project costs.

Outcomes we expect you to achieve

Below is a list of the sort of outcomes we would hope to see projects achieve. Projects are not expected to deliver on all outcomes, this list provides a form of guidance to applicants. It sets out what makes a project more desirable. A project may only deliver on one outcome, but that may be to such a degree that it outweighs the need to deliver on others. For example, one project may create many jobs, but deliver no further outcomes. Please bear in mind that LEADER is a grant programme that aims to boost the rural economy, therefore job creation and growth are of significant importance. If this is not a direct benefit to the applicant, it should be a benefit to other businesses and the wider rural economy.

  • Increased GVA (gross value added)/profits
  • Additional direct employment created
  • New innovative techniques and/or equipment adopted
  • Reduction in carbon emissions
  • Improved energy/water use
  • Reduction to waste
  • More sustainable farming practices
  • Beneficial collaboration with other businesses or farms
  • Educational opportunities created
  • Increased visitors to the farm
  • Improvements to animal health/welfare
When you Need to Apply

We hold Decision Making Panels every two months. In order for your project to be assessed at any given panel, you must submit your full project application and any supporting documents no less than one month prior to the panel date you wish to make. Should you be successful, you will then be able to start your project once you have heard from us and we have sent you your grant funding agreement. This usually takes up to four weeks from the date of the Decision Making Panel.

For further information and a list of Decision Making Panel dates, please refer to the Management Group meeting dates under the Vale Action or Plain Action Board section of this website.

Am I Eligible?

Part 1 – You must be able to answer YES to all of the following questions:-

  • Am I a farmer, tenant, land owner or processing business of SME size (small, medium sized enterprise – fewer than 250 FTE staff or less than 50 million euros turnover)?
  • Am I looking for capital funding only?
  • Am I able to match fund the project with 60% of my own funds (in kind or other public body contributions are not permitted)?
  • Is my application larger than £5,000 (not including 60% match funding)?
  • Can I cash flow the project 100%? I must make all purchases before receiving the grant. I will receive payment after receipts have been submitted with my claim (claims may take up to 8 weeks to process).
  • Am I able to provide 3 years accounts (if grant requested is under £35k I will only need 2 years accounts)?
  • Will I be able to continue with the project objectives, including maintaining ownership and use of any items purchased for a period of at least 5 years after claiming the grant?
  • If I am a tenant, will I have at least 5 years minimum term remaining on the tenancy agreement from the point of claiming the grant?
  • Is my project innovative and involves the purchase of non-standard agricultural equipment?
  • If the project involves processing, marketing or development of agricultural products, are these annex 1 products?
  • Is my project start date at least 4 months from the date I will send the full application or is it flexible?
  • Will my project be completed within 12 months of receiving a contract grant offer?
  • If purchasing second-hand equipment, can I prove this was not previously purchased using public funds in the last 7 years and has at least 5 years useful life remaining?
  • If applicable, are all consents, permissions and licences in place e.g planning permission?

Part 2 – You must be able to answer NO to all the following questions. Is your application for:-

  • A project applying for funding towards the processing, marketing and/or development of agricultural products, and I or my business have received up to a maximum of 200,000 euros in government funding in the last 3 years (please enquire for further information, I may still be eligible, but at a reduced grant amount)?
  • A project that comprises routine repairs or maintenance of premises or equipment
  • Like for like replacements?
  • Hard copy marketing material?
  • A project that is part of your normal work (this includes regular and repeat activities) or involves purchase of standard equipment?
  • Ongoing staff or running costs (including salaries of permanent or fixed term staff)?
  • Any costs I incur when putting together my application – including consents such as planning permission, agents fees?
  • Any items that I already get EU or national funding for?
  • Day to day running costs of my premises (for example utility bills, council tax, rent or insurance)?
  • Contingency costs?
  • Land or building projects where the ownership or lease is not yet in place?
  • Loans, fines or interest payments?
  • An item already funded under the Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Aid Scheme?
  • Costs connected with a leasing contract, such as lessor’s margin, interest refinancing costs, overheads and insurance charges?
  • Purchase of equipment that will not be legally owned by me, the applicant, at the time of claiming the grant?
  • Activities that will happen or start before the grant is confirmed?
  • Items that are purchased on behalf of another business/organisation?
  • A project or activity that the state, or my own business, has a legal obligation to provide, or is a standard industry obligation, for example the requirements of the Basic Payments scheme?
  • Projects that I cannot maintain due to high ongoing costs, or projects that are not sustainable long-term?
  • VAT that I can recover?
  • Purchase of animals or annual crops?
  • Costs of agricultural production rights and payment entitlements?
  • Own labour?
  • Ongoing licence fees, subscriptions and service charges?
  • Feasibility Studies?
  • Improvements to my primary/main residential dwelling unit?
  • Standard computer and mobile equipment?
  • Costs for renewable heat and energy systems covered by the renewable heat incentive (RHI) or Feed-In Tariffs (FITs)?
  • A project that will displace economic activity undertaken by other businesses?
Fit with Local and National Priorities

Local Priority

This grant programme fits within the Plain Action and Vale Action Local Priority 3: Increase the agricultural productivity or increase efficiency.

National Priority

It fits the Rural Development Programme National Priority 1: Support for increasing farm productivity.

Within this priority, it will fit one of the following:-

  • a) A project to improve the overall performance and sustainability of an agricultural holding
  • b) An investment to support animal health and welfare improvements
  • c) Processing, marketing and/or development of agricultural products.

LEADER Programme Measures

All projects will need to show which programme measure they fit into. For this grant programme, there are 3 potential measures that could fit.

1) If applying under (a) – A project to improve the overall performance and sustainability of an agricultural holding:-

Two Measures could apply:-

  • Measure 4.1 – Support for Investments in agricultural holdings
  • Measure 4.3 – Support for Investments related to development, modernisation or adaption of agriculture and forestry.

2) If applying under (b) – An investment to support animal health and welfare improvements

One Measure will apply:-

  • Measure 4.1 – Support for investments in agricultural holdings

3) If applying under (c) – Processing, marketing and/or development of agricultural products:-

One Measure will apply:-

  • Measure 4.2 – Support for investments in processing/marketing and/or development of agricultural products.