A major research charity has opened its second round of interest-free loans ranging from £5,000 to £25,000 to small-scale organic farmers and businesses.
The Dean Organic Fund, run by the Organic Research Centre will be open to small-scale organic/agroecological producers and food businesses.
Farmers and food producers receiving the loan can expand their enterprises by investing in equipment or stock, or benefit from other working capital.
The application deadline for applying for loans is Monday 17th September and agreements for loans will be finalised by the end of November.
Launched in January this year, the new Dean Organic Fund attracted wide interest in its first round and 13 applications were approved for loans ranging from £6,000 to £25,000 with £260,000 paid out in total to applicants.
Arange of businesses were supported through the fund, ranging from crofts planning meat processing operations in Scotland and growers expanding their vegetable production to protected cropping facilities in eastern and southwest England.
Other farms and food businesses are using the fund to develop farm shops, nano-dairy production, vineyard management equipment, expansion of organic granola production and organic chicken production systems.
Professor Nic Lampkin, Chief Executive of the Organic Research Centre said: "Many applicants benefited from taking advice on their business plans and we are working with a number of like-minded organisations to try to secure funding to provide further assistance for business advice and mentoring”
The fund is also open to farmers that are not certified organic but whose operations are closely aligned with organic principles.
The loans are repayable over periods of up to five years.