New grants available in farming sector
A new £40m farm business improvement scheme has been launched by Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen.
The scheme will award grants from £2,000 to capital projects for agricultural businesses costing £5,000 or more.
Ms McIlveen said: "This scheme is an important investment by the Executive, through my department, in farms today and farming in the future. It offers significant support for capital projects on farms and aims to fund sustainable growth in the industry."
And farmers are now being encouraged to start preparing for the opening of the two-tier scheme.
The minister said: "This year, there has been a particular emphasis on improving farm safety and investing in the farmers of tomorrow. I want to ensure we invest in the next generation of farmers and those committed to developing themselves and their farm practices.
"Safety is an ongoing issue and I am pleased that a large number of farmers have already completed the online 'Making it Safer' Farm Safe risk assessment tool."
The programme is a two-tiered scheme. Tier 1 aims to improve the sustainability of farms through purchasing equipment and machinery of between £5,000 and £30,000, and Tier 2 aims to drive major investments planned by farmers, with the support of robust business planning process. The maximum funding available under Tier 2 is £250,000.
Tier 1 applications are open until December 16, while Tier 2 applications are open from December 19 to February 24, 2017.
The minister encouraged those interested in the scheme to visit the department's website and to consider attending information road show events being held between November 7 and 17.
For more information, visit www.daera-ni.gov.uk