On the 12th February 2019, the Rural Payments Agency contacted all applicants within the Countryside Productivity Adding Value to Agrifood Scheme to inform them that all available funds have now been committed. Therefore the RPA are unable to accept or process any further full applications.
The RPA appreciate this will be disappointing news but as explained in previous guidance and correspondence, the scheme was competitive and it has transpired there has not been enough funding to support all projects. Applications that have already been received are being assessed on a rolling basis to determine how well they fit the priorities for funding and provide best value for tax payer’s money.
This scheme was extremely popular with farmers and food processing businesses as it could help pay for investments in such systems that would add value, increase output and profitability but also create new jobs or product lines for these businesses. To name one example, a potato grader capable of split grading into store or optical grading to ensure that potatoes could be sold to a variety of markets based on their specification.
The Adding Value to Agrifood Scheme ran in conjunction with the Improving Forestry Productivity, Water Resource Management and Improving Farm Productivity Schemes which have also proved popular with farmers and other rural businesses. Brown & Co’s Chris Sheldon added;
“In my experience of these schemes, Improving Farm Productivity is also oversubscribed and correspondence has been sent from the RPA to applicants informing them that there is going to be a delay in the decisions because the amount of applications received outstrips the amount of funding available. This could mean that a number of Improving Farm Productivity applicants are unsuccessful if their project does not meet all the criteria to a high standard.”
At this stage, the Leader Grant Scheme, although closed to new applicants, is still ongoing and some areas of England are oversubscribed and therefore correspondence has been sent out to potential applicants, plus applicants with applications already in for consideration, that the funding is not there to support everybody and therefore Leader Applications will be scored in line with the appropriate criteria and only the best applications funded, if that particular local action group is oversubscribed.
The Growth Programme Scheme, again although closed to new applications, has not yet announced that the scheme has been oversubscribed. Therefore, anybody that has already submitted a growth programme application or is still in the process of applying, current indications are that these should not suffer the same fate as the Adding Value to Agrifood Scheme.
For the small number of applicants who applied to Water Resource Management and Improving Forestry Productivity, current indication is that again, these schemes are not as pressurised.
It is anticipated that the Small Grants Scheme, which would fund 40% of standard costs given for retrofitted items to improve farm productivity such as GPS units, yield monitoring auto shutoff equipment or sprayers as well as livestock handling equipment, is due to reopen shortly.
If you would like any further information or assistance in your application please contact your local Brown & Co office where our experts will be happy to advise you.