Farming businesses in Scotland will benefit from a funding package worth more than £2.1m to support their economic development following the Covid-19 crisis.
The South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SOSEP) funding has been awarded to 28 projects, all located in Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders.
The money will be used to support the region’s economic recovery from the pandemic and help generate future job opportunities.
Among those to receive funding is a project to develop livestock holding facilities enabling farmers to collaborate to reduce transportation costs.
Minister for rural affairs, Mairi Gougeon said the investments would help create jobs, support businesses, develop skills and boost tourism.
"Many of the projects will help key industries in the region which have been hit hard by the pandemic as they work to recover and grow.
"Others will develop local supply chains, skills and employment opportunities to help drive local and regional economies forward."
Which farming projects will receive the fund?
The projects listed below are the penultimate batch of projects approved for Scottish government support through the partnership. Further support will be announced later this year:
• Livestock Holding Facilities (£59,600) to establish a livestock holding facility that will allow a range of local farmers to house their beasts, prior to transportation and processing. Aims to encourage co-operation to reduce costs.
• Feasibility Study – Farm Innovation Cows & Co (£20,000) consideration of a waste to energy power plant in a quarry environment to reduce energy costs for farmers and generate innovative business diversification activities.
• Feasibility Study – Alternative Land Use (£20,000) analysis of whether it is possible to grow a range of alternative crops including energy, pharmaceutical, forestry and industrial crops, as well as field scale vegetables and salad crops, in the South, which is currently dominated by traditional farming and forestry.
• Feasibility Study – Littleton Farm AD Plant (£20,000) to consider the creation of an on-farm industrial estate (“agri-park”), powered by a commercial scale anaerobic digestion plant, converting farm waste into energy.
• Feasibility Study – Border Union Agricultural Society (£20,000) to consider the development of the Border Union’s Springwood Park into a new “weather-proof” Border Events Centre and capture new income streams.
• Feasibility Study – Winkston Hill Farm (£20,000) to consider the creation of an on-farm education and activity centre to educate teachers and parents about farming, whilst providing unique experiences to children. Not a standard farm park, but a “real life” taste of a working farm over the working year.