McIlveen Launches Preparation Stage For Farm Business Improvement Scheme

Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Michelle McIlveen today announced details of the capital element of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme which is expected to open next month.

dn_screenMiss McIlveen said: “I am delighted to launch the Preparation Stage for the new farm Capital Scheme and to highlight some of its key features in advance of the Scheme opening formally in October.”

The Minister continued: “The Capital Scheme will only be for farmers who are actively involved in farming. It will be an important part of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme package of measures aimed at improving the competitiveness and sustainability of farm businesses. The Capital Scheme will offer tiered support, linked to the needs in the farmer’s business plan. The grant rate for the Scheme will be 40% of eligible costs. Tier 1 of the scheme will support smaller scale investments, costing less than £30,000, to improve the sustainability of farm businesses. Tier 2 will drive larger scale, transformational investment in projects costing over £30,000.”

She added: “I want to ensure that we invest in the next generation of farmers and those committed to developing themselves and their farm practices. Therefore the Capital Scheme will favour both young farmers and qualified farmers at the selection stage.”

All applicants must have a Category 1 Farm Business ID and will have to provide a ‘Making it Safer’ self assessment certificate as part of their application. The Minister said: “This Preparation Stage will allow time for farmers to start to prepare before the Scheme opens. I would encourage farmers to begin thinking about what they need to do now if they are interested in applying for grant support.”

Miss McIlveen highlighted an important online tool that the farmer can now use. She said “I want to take the opportunity to draw to all farmers’ attention to the “Making It Safer” farm risk assessment tool. Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in Northern Ireland and this year we have sadly seen a number of accidents and fatalities. It is vital that we improve health and safety on our local farms. I would encourage all farmers to complete this assessment, not just those who will need it for an application to the FBIS capital scheme.”

Further Information on the Scheme and available tools will be found on the DAERA website. Additional information will be made available ahead of the opening of the Scheme.