Just days left to apply for slurry infrastructure grants

Farmers are able to apply for grants of £25,000 - £250,000 towards the cost of slurry stores, covers and supporting equipment
Farmers are able to apply for grants of £25,000 - £250,000 towards the cost of slurry stores, covers and supporting equipment

Farmers in England have just a few days left to apply for slurry infrastructure grants ranging between £25,000 and £250,000.

Defra's new grants were first announced in November 2022, with an aim to help farmers overcome current financial barriers to investing in slurry storage.

The funding also encourages farmers to prevent water and air pollution while making the best of organic nutrients.

The deadline for applications is just a few days away, on Tuesday 31 January.

Grants will go toward the cost of building, replacing or expanding slurry storage to achieve six months capacity.

The scheme is open for farmers in England only, offering 50% match funding between £25,000 and £250,000.

The total funding pot is £13 million, and it will be available for livestock farmers to build six months of slurry storage capacity.

Defra farming minister Mark Spencer said many farmers were put off by high infrastructure costs and difficulty accessing finance.

"The grant will tackle this, helping farmers to invest in future-proof slurry storage that supports thriving farms while cutting pollution and allowing nature to prosper."

The NFU said adequate slurry storage was essential for farmers to continue protecting water courses and improve water and air quality.

The union's deputy president Tom Bradshaw said: "Farmers want and can do more to cut pollution levels and this grant will go a long way to supporting that.

“Though some farmers have plans, equipment and infrastructure in place to manage the nutrients in their slurry and manure, others face significant financial barriers to having sufficient slurry storage.

“The NFU has been working closely with Defra on the development of the scheme and will continue to do so to ensure as many farmers as possible are able to access this support."

Carter Jonas associate, Gillian Wilsher, said that looking at the bigger picture and considering long-term plans was essential for farmers.

“Farmers are meant to have six months’ storage, but the government has realised that many don’t as a store that size is expensive to build.

"This is their way of providing a helping hand. However, if this is the carrot, then I imagine in five years’ time it may be replaced by a big stick if you don’t take them up on this offer.”

Demand for the scheme is expected to be high; if oversubscribed, Defra will prioritise those projects which will yield the biggest environmental benefits.

The selected farmers will then be invited to submit a full application, for which planning permission must be secured.