Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has announced that Tier 2 of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme – Capital (FBIS-C) will open for applications on January 10, 2022.

The funding for farmers and growers will provide transformational investment in on-farm projects costing in excess of £30,000.

Speaking at the RUAS Winter Fair, Minister Poots said: “I am delighted to announce the re-opening of Tier 2 FBIS Capital.

“The focus of this multi-million pound fund is on larger-scale investment to encourage a step change in the agriculture and horticulture sectors.

“We want to drive transformational investment in future proofed, fit-for-purpose, modern infrastructure and equipment, guided by a robust business planning process within assisted farms.

“I will be inviting those farmers and growers who submitted an Expression of Interest and who are ready to make a significant investment to transform their business to come forward with their application to the scheme when it opens on January 10, 2022.

“I would encourage all applicants to familiarise themselves with guidance which will be available online when the scheme opens, ahead of making an application to what will be a highly competitive scheme.

“My department (DAERA) will also hold further online information sessions while the scheme is open,” he added.

“There was a significant number of Expressions of Interest in this tranche of Tier 2 FBIS-C, which were used to explore the type of investment planned, approximate total costs and potential time for completion.”

How to apply

DAERA held online information events in October for potential applicants to the scheme, which will provide a grant rate of 40% of eligible costs, with £250,000 the maximum grant available.

Only those farm businesses that submitted an Expression of Interest will be eligible to submit a full application for Tier 2 tranche 2 by the application closing date, 4:00p.m on April 1, 2022.

Applicants will be required to submit a separate robust, viable and sustainable business plan as part of their full application, which shows that they have carefully planned their investment and what difference the proposed project will make in transforming their farm into a more sustainable, efficient and safer business.

All projects which involve construction or extension of buildings will require planning permission or a certificate of lawfulness to be in place before a full application to the scheme is submitted.

Successful applicants under Tier 2 tranche 2 will have a maximum of one year to complete their project.