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Improvement funding up for grabs

Date Published: 07/12/2011

A round of funding for improvement projects in agriculture and forestry has been launched – but applicants need to get in quickly.

RDPE funding guidance document
The RDPE funding guidance document

A window for new bids to the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) opened in late November but will only remain open until January 17, 2012.

The RDPE has existed since 2007 and was originally administered, in the main, by regional development agencies.

However, since July 2011 Defra has taken over responsibility for the delivery of support for farming and forestry competitiveness, diversification of the rural economy and rural quality of life.

The current round is under the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS) and, in general, the grants are for a minimum of £2,500 and a maximum of £25,000. They are targeted at improving effectiveness and efficiency, so are not for the purposes of buying new equipment, but could be put to work enhancing existing installations; for example, upgrading a basic cattle crush to make it suitable for a wider range of tasks.

There are some caveats regarding who is eligible for the grants, though not too many. A comprehensive, but accessible, brochure has been published to provide guidance on the RDPE. OF&G has made an online version of the document available, which can be accessed by clicking here and downloaded for reading at leisure.

Further information is available via the RDPE section of the Defra website (including links to the application forms).

The RDPE is technically scheduled to run until 2013 through various funding rounds, some with emphasis on specific priorities, however, once the allocated funds for the scheme are used it will end – which could be long before 2013, depending upon the popularity of the offering.