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. One business, named ‘Our Cow Molly’, secured a grant of over £160,000 to invest in a new processing unit, which allowed its owners to produce higher-quality fresh milk and ice cream and create six new jobs.
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 the best. Grants are not awarded automatically to an applicant, and so those interested should put their best efforts into completing the forms.
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 that rural enterprises should look into what the scheme could do for them and how they could use the funding to branch out and diversify their businesses.
For help and advice on matters relating to the agricultural sector, contact our expert team at Howard Worth today.