The Government has re-opened the EU-funded Growth Programme with £35 million of funding to help farmers make equipment purchases that can drive business growth, offer up opportunities for tourism and create new jobs.
So far, the scheme has granted £99 million to 546 local businesses across England, creating 3,771 new jobs in rural areas. The minimum grant has been reduced from £35,000 to £20,000 to allow more businesses to apply, which eligible businesses need to do before midnight on 16 February 2020.
Interested parties should apply to the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), who will check eligibility, look for projects that meet the national and local priorities for funding, and decide which projects meet the criteria. Grants are not awarded automatically so farmers are encouraged to be diligent when completing the applications.
The application process starts with candidates submitting an ‘expression of interest’ to RPA, to tell them about their work and how the grant could help their business. If RPA assesses the expression of interest to be suitable, it will then invite the business to submit a full application.
Commenting on the grant, Farming Minister George Eustice said “This next round of funding will help more businesses to grow and local areas to prosper – and I would urge any rural enterprise to look into what this scheme could do for them.
“I would also encourage farmers to consider how they might use this funding to branch out and diversify their businesses, making the most of emerging trends and tastes and looking ahead to new opportunities.”
Martin Johnson, Manager at Milsted Langdon, said: “The re-opening of the Growth Programme is fantastic news for farmers, with £35 million in grants being made available together with the minimum grant being reduced to £20,000, it creates significant opportunities for agricultural business.
“For help and advice on matters relating to the agricultural sector, contact our expert team today.”