Farmer 'wasted a week' applying for grant

A YORKSHIRE farmer claims he has wasted ‘at least a week’ of his time applying for a grant after being given ‘conflicting’ information which meant only part of his application was eligible.

The dairy farmer, who is based near York, but did not want to be named, had applied for a grant under the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme, which is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE).

The scheme has been developed to help farming, forestry and horticultural businesses in England to become more efficient at using resources. It is aimed at helping make businesses more profitable and resilient while reducing the impact of farming on the environment.

The farmer told FG he wanted to apply for a grant for a cattle crush, race, forcing gate and holding pen and said he had contacted scheme officials prior to filling in his form to see if he was eligible.

“They said I was, so I obtained three different quotes, spoke to my vet and a consultant, and then checked again to see if everything was still okay. A staff member in the Leeds office said it was, so I submitted my application and then received a phone call saying only the cattle crush was eligible as the rest was ‘standard agricultural equipment’.

“I have wasted a lot of money on fees and probably spent a week of my time sorting out the quotes, filling in forms and in consultations. The application handbook is not very clear and I think a lot of people will have been misled

“I’m still going ahead with the work, but it will take longer to reach the welfare standards I would like, and the quality of equipment probably won’t be as high.”

A Defra spokesperson said: “We are investing £20 million through the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme to help farmers, foresters and horticulturists increase profits and reduce their impact on the environment. 

“Grants of up to £25,000 are available for a large range of items.”

Eligible items.

  • More than 1,000 people applied for grants during the first round of applications, which closed on January 17. The second round is due to open in late April/May.

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