Farmers looking to diversify urged to apply for new fund

There are three types of grant: business development; food processing and rural tourism infrastructure
There are three types of grant: business development; food processing and rural tourism infrastructure

Farmers in England looking to diversify are being encouraged to apply for new funding to help dreams turn into reality.

New funding is available for farm diversification projects, and expressions of interest are open until 16 February 2020.

Farmers and landowners could be eligible for a Growth Programme grant if their business is carrying out a project to create jobs or bring more money into the rural economy.

There are three types of grant: business development; food processing and rural tourism infrastructure.



For business development, the minimum grant available to diversify into non-agricultural activities is £20,000 and the maximum is £175,000.

For food processing, the minimum grant for food and drink businesses that process agricultural and horticultural products is £20,000 and the maximum is £750,000.



And finally, for tourism Infrastructure, the minimum grant for small businesses and farmers who want to diversify is £20,000 and the maximum is £175,000.

Richard Corbett, partner with Roger Parry & Partners, said he wants to make farmers aware of this opportunity.

“The aim of the RDPE Growth Programme is to create jobs and growth in the rural economy.

“Your application will need to show your project will help do this. Every successful application starts with a good idea and a clear plan for how to make that idea a reality,” he said.

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will assess all expressions of interest. It will look for projects that meet the national and local priorities for funding and will decide which meet the criteria the best.

This means grants are not awarded automatically to an applicant. There is a two-part application process, starting with submitting an expression of interest to tell the RPA about the work being done and how the grant could help.

If the agency assesses that the expression of interest is suitable, they will invite farmers to submit a full application.