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 is now open until April 4th.
Farmers in the North West can use their RDPE Northwest Livestock Programme animal health, nutrient management or resource efficiency plans to apply.
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.
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.
To see how to apply and what supporting information you need, read the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme Applicant Handbook (Round 3)
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.
If the handbook doesn't answer all your questions, you can contact the central RDPE FFIS Helpline.
Tel: 0300 060 4761 Email: FFIS3@defra.gsi.gov.uk
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: http://rdpenetwork.defra.gov.uk/funding-sources/farm-and-forestry-improvement-scheme. The above is a summary only. Please read the full guidance in the handbook.
Pigs and poultry
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