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Restructuring Agricultural Businesses

Option closed to new applications

Introduction

Please note - Applications for this option submitted after 16 November 2011 must meet the Setting up Young Farmers - Interest Rate Relief eligibility criteria outlined in option 2 or the application must specifically be aimed at Energy Efficiency.

This Option is about changing the scale or nature of the agricultural business as a whole, or partly; and/or significant changes to existing business practices. By sharing the cost of investment targeted at restructuring, including expansion, it is hoped to support farm businesses to improve their income stream from their agricultural activities and also encourage wider benefits, such as improvements in animal health and welfare, environmental management and health and safety for those involved with the business. Restructuring is taken to mean changes to the scale or nature of the agricultural business as a whole, or of specified elements of the overall business and/or significant changes to existing business practices.

What will this achieve

By investing in your existing business, you can improve viability, increase market orientation and achieve other benefits such as improved animal health and welfare or reductions in diffuse water pollution. You could also realise:

  • Additional sources of income to the farm business
  • Sustainable alternative land use
  • Shared resources and experience to control costs and increase incomes
  • Added benefits to the wider rural/local community
  • Introduction of new and novel products.

What you can do

Under this Option, you will be provided assistance towards the restructuring and/or diversification, of your land-based business. Eligible costs include providing or upgrading buildings, necessary equipment, infrastructure or information technology where it can be shown that these investments:

  • are an essential part of the restructuring or re-orientation of the business
  • this restructuring will result in improvements in business viability, environmental management, health and safety and/or animal health and welfare.

Diversification in this Option refers to undertaking alternative forms of agricultural production. Given the range of potential enterprises, it is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of the types of enterprises considered as alternative agriculture, but it may include:

  • Soft fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Mushrooms
  • Deer
  • Fibre Goats/Sheep
  • Rabbits
  • Wild flower seed production and use
  • Worms
  • Herbs
  • Horticulture
  • Wild Boar
  • Bees/honey
  • Snails
  • Free range poultry or livestock
  • Biomass

Note: If you wish to apply for support for new or improved storage and handling facilities for manure and slurry you should apply under the Manure/Slurry Storage option.

Who can apply

Applications submitted after 16 November 2011 must meet the Setting up Young Farmers - Interest Rate Relief eligibility criteria or the application must specifically be aimed at Energy Efficiency.

All applicants can apply as an agricultural business. You will need to produce evidence to demonstrate that an overview has been taken of the operation of the business, its strengths and weaknesses and options for change, and to show that the proposed investments are part of a longer term process of improving viability and competitiveness.

Consideration for funding will be dependent on demonstration of a market opportunity and demand for the service, product or facility to be provided. Support will also be available for collaborative projects between agricultural holdings as well as for individual holdings.

Eligibility criteria

As a minimum, you will be expected to be compliant with existing community standards applicable to the investment concerned, and to comply with Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC) and statutory management requirements. As part of your proposal you must also be able to identify the expected improvements in performance of the Business as a result of the planned investment, against the criteria identified above, i.e. business viability, animal health and welfare, environmental management or health and safety.
(Note: These expected benefits will be used as part of the competitive process for assessing applications. They will also form the basis of future monitoring of successful projects.)

What costs could be supported

The capital investments eligible for funding will include costs related to:

  • new or upgraded buildings or structures
  • the development or upgrading of services or other infrastructural elements
  • new machinery or equipment for improving efficiency or adding value to products or processes
  • the acquisition or development of information technology to assist restructuring.

To ensure value for money we require you to provide 2 competitive quotes for any capital items applied for which are based on actual cost. If, however, you are seeking grant support towards something so specialised it is only available through 1 source then we would accept 1 quote. Please see the guidance on quotes and estimates for more information.

Rate of support

For non-LFA up to 40% of eligible costs. Plus 10% Young Farmer Premium if eligible*

For less favoured areas (LFA) up to 50% of eligible costs. Plus 10% Young Farmer Premium if eligible*

*To be eligible for the Young Farmer Premium, you must be a farmer or crofter who, at the time of committing a Proposal is:

  • 16 years of age or over, but under 40 years of age
  • the head of an agricultural business (either as sole proprietor; or as the majority partner; or as the equal partner with another farmer or farmers under 40 years of age)

Note: For the Young Farmer Premium a copy of your birth certificate or other proof of age is required. Companies are ineligible for the 10% Young Farmer Premium.

Additionally projects under this Option are subject to the following maximum rates and conditions:

  • All Projects are capped at £100,000;
  • Restructuring of Agricultural Businesses is left open but only for:

1. Projects from those applicants who meet the Setting up Young Farmers - Interest Rate Relief eligibility criteria;

2. Projects which are aimed at "Energy Efficiency", with a cap of £50,000 on the Restructuring of Agricultural Businesses Option.

Inspections/verification

You must complete the work as described in your approved proposal including compliance with any notified conditions of statutory consents. It is a condition of funding that you allow any person, duly authorised, to have access to allow an inspection to take place. An inspection may take place at any reasonable time either before or after completion.

Links to further guidance

Animal Health and Welfare

Cross Compliance

Accredited independent business advice