Window now open for Tier 2 applications

DAERA Minister Michelle McIlveen with YFCU President Roberta Simmons at the Northern Ireland Ploughing Championships in Limavady.
DAERA Minister Michelle McIlveen with YFCU President Roberta Simmons at the Northern Ireland Ploughing Championships in Limavady.

Farmers can now submit their application for Tier 2 of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme – Capital.

Minister Michelle McIlveen announced that the department is now accepting applications for Tier 2 of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme, explaining that it will provide grant support to farmers who are ready to make a significant investment to transform their farm business.

The focus of Tier 2 is on transformational investment in projects costing in excess of £30,000. Funding is provided at a grant rate of 40% of eligible costs, with £250,000 the maximum grant available under the scheme.

The minister said: “I would remind farmers that the focus of Tier 2 is on larger-scale investment, to support sustainable growth in the agriculture and horticulture sectors. Given the scale of investment involved, I want to encourage farmers to plan their projects carefully. It is aimed at those who have developed a robust business plan.

“I encourage all potential applicants for Tier 2 to visit the DAERA website before embarking on this application process. They should familiarise themselves with the steps involved in completing a Tier 2 application and the tools that are available to help.”

Tier 2 applicants must propose their projects through a business plan which will be assessed against the following key themes: contribution to sustainable growth; environment, weather resistance and climate change; animal and plant health; occupational health and safety; and production and resource efficiency.

Completed Tier 2 applications can be submitted until the application window closes at 4pm on 24 February 2017.

Tier 1 of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme – Capital closed on Friday, December 16. Over 3,500 applications were received for this portion of the scheme, with funding of £7.5 million available for tranche 1. Letters of offer are due to begin issuing at the end of January.

The minister added: “I am delighted at the great response we have had to Tier 1, and by the enthusiasm our farmers and growers have shown to further develop their businesses.

“I am particularly pleased that over 98% of applications were submitted online. Also, it is encouraging that so many took the opportunity to complete farm safety assessments. These were not only an essential part of the application process, but a practical way for farmers to be aware of safety on their premises.”

For those considering applying for Tier 2, information and tools are available on the DAERA website. They will assist potential applicants in examining the viability of potential projects. Help is also available by email at tier2@daera-ni.gov.uk or via the helpline at 0845 026 7535.