Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Michelle McIlveen has announced further details of the capital element of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme, which is expected to open later this month.
Miss McIlveen said: “The Farm Business Improvement Scheme (FBIS) is the major recommendation addressed to my department in ‘Going for Growth’. It is a package of measures which will help support sustainable growth in the sector. We are now releasing some further information to help farmers and growers prepare for the capital element of the scheme.
“I am delighted to see that there has already been interest in the tools we made available last month. In particular a large number of farmers have already completed the on-line ‘Making it Safer’ Farm Safe risk assessment tool. I would encourage all farmers to complete this assessment on-line, not just those who will need it for an application to the FBIS - Capital Scheme. It is also encouraging that farmers are completing the Farm Safe Awareness module; although not required for the Scheme, it is an important tool in improving awareness of key risks on the farm.”
The Minister continued: “I am conscious that those applying to the scheme will be taking on additional investments at a time when many sectors have felt the impact of low prices and market volatility. Both tiers of the Scheme will therefore require an indication of support letter from a bank, or other lending institution, to confirm that the applicant can access funds to complete their project. This is especially important for Tier 2 which will drive larger scale, transformational investment in projects costing over £30,000.
“I also want to take the opportunity to emphasise the importance of business planning for Tier 2 investments. All applicants to Tier 2 will have to develop and submit a robust business plan which shows that they have carefully planned their investment; it is viable, affordable, and meets the objectives of the Scheme. It is essential to show in the application how each of the proposed projects applied for will make a difference, in transforming our farms into more sustainable, efficient and safer businesses.”
Miss McIlveen continued: “To support farmers in considering projects, my Department has developed the Farm Investment Planner Mapping Tool. It is designed to assist the farmer with mapping existing and potential capital investment. Applicants for Tier 2 projects involving construction will be required to submit a Farm Investment Planner map outlining their proposed construction project.”
The Minister concluded: “This further information will be useful for farmers and growers thinking about the requirements for, and viability of, their proposed projects, especially for Tier 2. I would encourage farmers to visit the DAERA website and familiarise themselves with the tools and information available before embarking on the application process.”
Further Information on the Scheme and available tools can be be found on the DAERA website at www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/farm-business-improvement-scheme. Additional information will be made available at the opening of the Scheme.