A total of £12 million has been earmarked for the second tranche of Tier 2 the Farm Business Improvement Scheme – Capital (FBIS-C).

This morning Agriland revealed that the department planned on changing the application process for Tier 2 to a two-stage system after planning issues derailed the first round of the scheme.

Announcing the opening of the expression of interest stage, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots confirmed the second round of the scheme would be worth up to £12 million.

The scheme will support transformational investment in on-farm projects costing more than £30,000 (excl.VAT). Funding is provided at a grant rate of 40% of eligible costs, with £250,000 the maximum grant available under the FBIS-Capital scheme.

Minister Poots made the announcement at vegetable grower Roy Lyttle’s farm in Newtownards, Co.Down. Lyttle’s construction of a cold store and covered loading area was supported by the first tranche of Tier 2 of the Farm Business Improvement scheme.

Tier 2 tranche 2 expected later this year

The changes for the next round of Tier 2 will mean that only farm businesses which submit an expression of interest will be eligible to submit a full application for second tranche, which is expected to open later in the year, and will be invited to training webinars ahead of the application stage.

The expression of interest form seeks information on the type of investment planned, approximate total costs and potential time for completion, and must be submitted before 4:00p.m on August 13, 2021.

Announcing the opening of the expression of interest stage, Minister Poots said: “I am pleased to announce the re-opening of Tier 2 FBIS-Capital.

“In order to gauge the number and range of farmers and growers who are ready to make a significant investment to transform their business, I am inviting potential applicants to submit an Expression of Interest at this stage.

“The information received will enable my department to consider interest in a second tranche of Tier 2 at this time. Therefore, this is a mandatory step.

“I would encourage potential applicants to read the guidance notes online and if they feel they are ready to invest, complete an expression of interest form, or if necessary contact my department with any eligibility queries before submitting the form.”

Successful applicants will have a maximum of one year to complete their project.

“The expression of interest stage will help determine the scale and scope of the full application stage for Tier 2 tranche 2,” a DAERA spokesperson added.

Further information on the FBIS-C Tier 2 is available on the DAERA website.