£40m fund launched for Northern farmers to improve their businesses
The Northern Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Michelle McIlveen has announced the opening of a £40m capital funding scheme designed to help farmers across Northern Ireland improve their businesses.
“I am delighted to announce that the capital element of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme will formally open on Monday 31 October. This scheme, worth £40million over the first two tranches in its initial phase, represents a significant investment to support the industry’s ambitions.”
The capital element of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme is a two-tiered programme which supports on-farm investment projects costing £5,000 and above. Tier 1 aims to improve the sustainability of farms and Tier 2 aims to drive transformational investment guided by a robust business planning process.
The scheme has a particular emphasis on improving farm safety and investing in the farmers of tomorrow.
During her keynote speech, the Minister said: “Clearly, we have many high quality farm businesses run by very able people within Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry.
“I understand the value of Direct Payments to farms and the stability this income can provide, especially at times of extreme market volatility. That is why, from the moment I was appointed, I was determined to introduce Advance Payments to assist with farmers’ immediate cash-flow difficulties.”
Northern Ireland is the first part of the UK to introduce advance payments and it comes after the Northern Department announced that over 90% of eligible farmers across Northern Ireland have now received advance payments, with more than 21,000 local farm businesses having now received 70% of their 2016 Basic Payment allocation.