MAJOR BOOST TO THE CAMPAIGN FOR A RURAL STRATEGY:
The Independent Food, Farming & Countryside Commission hosted by the RSA in its report launched on Tuesday 16th July ‘Our Future in the Land’ has added its voice to the calls by the RSN and the House of Lords Select Committee for a comprehensive Rural Strategy (more to follow)
Two new grant funds have been launched under the Countryside Productivity Scheme.
The Improving Farm Productivity grant has an application deadline of 3 December 2018. It seeks to fund projects that can be completed by 31 December 2020.
This grant covers funding for that help improve farm productivity – including the use of robotic equipment and systems
The Adding Value to Agri-Food grant has an application deadline of 29 June 2018 for expressions of interest. It seeks to fund projects that can be completed by December 2020.
These grants aim to improve the processing of primary agricultural products to shorten supply chains and deliver benefits to primary producers.
Grant funding can help pay for equipment and machinery or constructing or improving buildings associated with all aspects of processing.
Some rural local authorities also have funding available under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) delivered via Defra.
Almost £3m of funding has been allocated to rural businesses in Norfolk and north Suffolk through an initiative managed by Norfolk County Council.
The Local Action Groups (LAGs) deliver the funding under the ‘LEADER’ approach, which decentralises the decision to support the rural economy at a local level.
The LAGs comprise representatives from businesses, community organisations and public authorities, and aim to help micro and small businesses and community organisations.
Cllr Keith Kiddie, Chair of Norfolk County Council’s Business and Property Committee, said: “It is imperative that we take advantage of the opportunity this LEADER funding presents.
“A wide variety of projects have been funded so far and it’s always worth an initial discussion with your Local Action Group to see if your project idea may be eligible.
Eligible projects need to deliver against the priorities set out for each respective LAG area
They must broadly support one farm productivity, small businesses, rural tourism, rural services; cultural and heritage activity or forestry.
Funding has been guaranteed by the government for projects contracted by 29 March 2019.
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