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If you’re a farmer in Cornwall, you can apply for grants under a new £40 million scheme announced by the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, to help you invest in cutting edge technology and new equipment.

Under the Countryside Productivity Scheme, grants are available to help livestock, dairy, arable and horticultural farmers improve farm productivity through investing in new technology, such as robotics, to reduce cost or improve product quality. The funding can be used on diverse investments, from robotic milking machines to green technology.

Mr Gove announced the details of the scheme at the 2017 World Dairy Summit in Belfast, describing farmers as the “original friends of the earth” and “the backbone of our rural economy”. He said the government wanted to support farmers to grow more, sell more and export more great British produce – all while doing good for our environment.

The new funding is the second phase of the Rural Development Programme for England, following the announcement in July of grants for improving forestry productivity and water resource management.

The government sees the grants as an opportunity for farmers and food processors to invest in the technology they need to boost productivity, competition and sustainability to futureproof the industry. They have made provision for the payments to continue after we leave the EU.

The scheme also offers funds for farmers and food processors to invest in new equipment and machinery to improve the processing of milk, meat and fruit.

There are rules attached to the scheme, of course. The grants cover up to 40% of the cost of a project. The minimum grant is £35,000 which means the total cost of an eligible project must be £87,500 or above. Applicants will compete for funding and projects must meet objectives which include making the farming operation more resilient to climate change, adopting innovative technologies and growing the business.

The deadline for submissions is December 2018.

If you’d like advice and help with your application, please get in touch with David Jane, our agricultural specialist. Email or call 01872 272047.