Deadline looming for applications to improvement scheme in the North

The deadline for applications to Tier 2 of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme in Northern Ireland is set to close this week.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has encouraged farmers and growers interested in the scheme to get their applications in as soon as possible.

DAERA gave farmers and growers more time to submit their Tier 2 applications by extending the closing date for the first tranche of the scheme to 4pm on Friday, March 10.

The department decided to extend the deadline, due to Tier 2 applications for the scheme requiring substantial time and commitment to complete – on account of the projects being on such a large scale.

Prospective applicants are being urged by the department to ensure that they have met all the requirements for the Tier 2 application process.

Applicants are reminded that they must include, or upload if submitting online, all the additional supporting information and permissions required for the Tier 2 application process.

A number of tools and additional information on the scheme is available on the DAERA website to assist prospective applicants in examining the viability of potential projects.

Applications to Tier 2 of the scheme opened just before Christmas and were originally scheduled to close at 4.00pm on February 24.

The focus of this tier of the scheme is on transformational investment, in projects costing in excess of £30,000 (€34,675).

Funding is provided at a grant rate of 40% of eligible costs, with £250,000 (€288,965) being the maximum grant available under the scheme.

Applicants must propose their projects through a business plan, which will be assessed against a number of key themes.

These themes will include the contribution to sustainable growth, environment, weather resistance and climate change, animal and plant health, occupational health and safety, as well as production and resource efficiency.

The second tier is primarily for construction projects and the purchase of higher value equipment linked to the needs identified in the farmer’s business plan.