Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme

The Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS) is a national grants fund that aims to help farmers, foresters and horticultural businesses in England increase profits and reduce their impact on the environment. The Third Round of the scheme closed on April 4th

What is Involved?

The Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme helps livestock farmers in the North West fund the recommendations of subsidised technical plans (Animal Health and Welfare Planning, Nutrient and Manure Management Planning and Resource Efficiency Audits which were available until January 2014).

Due to the RDPE NW Livestock Programme Plans closing to new applications in January 2014 (after four and half years of delivery) you now no longer need a plan from SAC or Promar to apply for this grant.

However, you will need a plan of some kind from your vet and/or advisor to stand a good chance of being successful. Existing plans (under 12 months old) can be used if they justify the grant items, or have been updated with a covering letter from your vet. 

This national fund is for projects that improve competitiveness and take a farm’s performance above normal farm practice. It cannot be used to help comply with statutory regulations. Grants can only be applied for if recommended as a priority in the relevant plan(s) carried out by an advisor or vet. A single application can contain recommendations from one, two or all three technical plans / audits. 

Grants will cover a maximum of 50% of the total cost of projects in uplands areas (SDA's) and at most 40% of the total cost of projects in non uplands areas.

Under the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme, all farmers, foresters, contractors and horticulturalists in England are invited to apply for grants of between £2,500 (the minimum for any single application) and £35,000 (the maximum allowable for each farm business).

Applicants will be assessed on their ability to meet one or more of six objectives: 1, Improve animal health and welfare 2, Reduce energy usage 3, Improve the management of manures 4, Improve soil quality 5, Improve water resource management 6, Improve use of forestry resources. 


Round 3 of the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme closed on April 4th

The handbook detailing what items were grant aided is available on the RDPE Network website which can be downloaded HERE >>



How to Apply



If you haven't got an animal health plan then contact your vet about how to go about getting one, if you haven't got a nutrient plan or resource audit you may wish to contact a suitable advisor from SAC, Promar or any other reputable firm to help you with this as you will need supporting evidence and / or calculations to fill in the application form. If you have a plan, but it needs updating, contact your vet or advisor. If you took a chance on this grant announcement being made and applied to SAC Consulting  or Promar for a subsidised plan before the Northwest Livestock Programme closed to new applications in January, then they will work with you and your vet to complete your plan by the end of February. 



Your vet / advisor that undertakes your plan will help make any recommendations which may be eligible for a grant. (Your helath plan must be less than 12 months old at time of application) You will then need three quotes from suppliers of the equipment you wish to purchase - see the handbook for full details.


Application Handbook

To see how to apply and what supporting information you need, read the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme Applicant Handbook (Round 3) 

Download the Round Three Handbook >> 


Application Form (All applications must be in before April 4th 2014 - the earlier the better)

Download and follow the instructions on the application form. Once completed, email your application to the Central RDPE FFIS team  (email address below).

The round will close on Friday 4 April 2014. Applications received after this date will not be processed. However, unlike previous rounds Defra will start processing applications as soon as they arrive. Therefore you are strongly advised to apply as soon as you can.

The instructions also ask that you fill in a declaration form, which is available via a tab button at the bottom of the application form spreadsheet. This declaration must be printed off, signed and posted to the Central RDPE FFIS Team in Nottingham (postal address below) along with hard copies of your supporting documentation as requested in the handbook. You do not need to print off and post the entire application form, just the declaration.

Download the Application Form  (xls file) >>

If the handbook doesn't answer all your questions, you can contact the central RDPE FFIS Helpline.

Tel: 0300 060 4761  Email:

Please only telephone if your query is extremely urgent.

FFIS Round 3
PO Box 10383



The selection process for FFIS is competitive and applications will be appraised as soon as they are received. This means that there is no guarantee of success and not all projects which are eligible will be awarded a grant, especially if the scheme proves popular and plenty of early applications are accepted. You will be notified by letter if you have been successful or not.

You must not commit to buying any equipment which is specifically related to this grant application until an Offer Letter has been received. Grant is paid in arrears so you will need to demonstrate that you have the ability to bankroll the whole project until such point as the grant is paid to you.

For information in full follow this web-link: The above is a summary only. Please read the full guidance in the handbook.

Examples of Eligible Items (see the handbook for full details)

Animal Health and Welfare recommendations could include funding for the following items: 



  • Upgrade of cattle crush (only fund uplift from a standard crush @ £500)
  • Mobile cattle handling system (static fixed handling systems/races ineligible)
  • Cattle foot trimming facilities – need evidence that someone has undergone appropriate training for foot trimming
  • Head scoop for cattle crush
  • Electronic weigh cells for cattle crushes
  • Automatic footbaths (basic baths ineligible)
  • Automatic foot spraying – for baths & sprayers need to demonstrate how it will improve herd health and how you will dispose of chemicals
  • EID readers
  • Cow mattresses (superior only)
  • Locking yokes
  • Automatic segregation gates
  • Rotating cow brushes
  • Cluster flushing systems
  • Heat detection systems
  • Resurfacing parlour floors and collecting yard with rubber matting – a map must be drawn showing the areas which will be covered
  • Concrete grooving
  • Milk pasteuriser for using with colostrum/whole milk for control of Johnes


  • Sheep weigh crates with electronic segregation system – must be linked to EID
  • Turning crates – need evidence that someone has undergone training for foot trimming
  • EID readers
  • Automatic segregation gates
  • Mobile sheep handling systems
  • Installation of specialist slatted floor to existing buildings for indoor lambing


Pigs and poultry

  • Heat pumps for heat recovery from cooling slurry
  • Electronic weigh cells
  • Real time monitoring of water in pig buildings
  • PigSAFE non-crate systems for indoor farrowing – maximum grant rate of 15%
  • Water softeners and purification systems
  • Interventions to help control/prevent injurious feather pecking (laying hens)
  • Computer software to use on existing computers specifically aimed to assist in monitoring of health

Nutrient and Manure Management recommendations could include funding for:

  • Slurry separator – need written evidence from EA that design of facility complies with current legislation
  • Manure analysis equipment at farm level
  • Soil mapping and soil analysis – funding available for software programmes only
  • GPS equipment for precision farming – limited to one GPS system per business
  • Slurry application equipment – dribble bars, shallow injectors, trailing shoes, macerators, slurry aerators.
  • Roofing of silage pits, slurry pits, lagoons etc – inclusion of a water harvesting element will receive a higher score on appraisal
  • Covers for slurry stores & lagoons

Resource Efficiency recommendations could include funding for:

Energy Efficiency

  • Heat Recovery systems including ice builders, gel coolers, heat exchangers for cooling milk (can include plate coolers but water must be reused) and in pig/poultry buildings, heat pumps for heat recovery.
  • Vacuum on-demand systems for milking parlours (including variable speed motors)
  • Automatic variable speed controllers for water and vacuum pumps
  • Voltage optimisers (for grain drying)

Water Management

  • Rainwater harvesting equipment including pipework to intercept and divert roof water to storage facility, water pumps, filters (including UV filters), storage tanks, ponds and reservoirs for storage of harvested water.
  • Equipment for water recycling in horticulture

Who to contact

Defra logo 2012


If the handbook doesn't answer all your questions, contact the central RDPE FFIS Helpline (please only telephone if your query is extremely urgent).

Tel:  0300 060 4761


FFIS applications are now being processed by a central team, the application must be emailed but the declaration must be signed and sent to the following postal address 

FFIS Round 3
PO Box 10383