NEW Countryside Stewardship Small Grant Scheme

A new capital grant scheme has been launched by DEFRA this week which allows farmers to invest into specific pieces of equipment, but hurry as online applications have to be submitted online by midday on the 14th March 2018.

It is important to note that even though the handbook and online system has been released, DEFRA are still awaiting ‘final confirmation of authority’ to be able to run the scheme and they will not make any decisions on an application until this has been decided.

This online application is straightforward when compared to the other grants that are available at this time.  There is no need to provide three quotes for each item that you desire as there is a ‘standard cost’ which the RPA base the grant on.  But this is a competitive scheme.  Each item will automatically be scored on the degree to which they meet technical efficiency, animal health and welfare, health and safety and resource efficiency.  If you score highly enough, unfortunately we do not know what the baseline is, then you will be awarded the grant.

In order to qualify you will need to spend at least £7,500, to receive the grant of up to 40% of the listed costs (50% for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly). The grant is for a minimum of £3,000 and a maximum of £12,000.

So for example if the RPA awarded Wilson Wraight Farming LLP the full 40% grant for humidity controls and dehumidifiers for a grainstore costing £16,000, they would receive grant funding of £6,400.  If the actual sum spent exceeded the standard cost, the applicant would still only receive the 40% grant of agreed expenditure.  If the sum spent was below the standard cost than 40% of that purchased price would be awarded.

A table of all of the items eligible with the standard cost and the maximum grant that would be awarded can be seen here Small Grant table

It is a single stage online process, and doing a dummy run this morning is very simple to complete.  The RPA will contact you through the email that you have provided if you have or have not been successful.  The grant is claimed by online submission of a qualifying VAT invoice and proof of purchase evidenced by bank statement.

Some more important aspects of the grant are below

  • You may only put one application in per SBI, and if you are successful you will not be able to apply in further rounds – have a shopping list ready!
  • You have to have an SBI and CRN – so if you are solely a contracting business and do not receive other RPA subsidies then you cannot apply for this grant
  • Second hand items are not eligible
  • You cannot purchase items with cash
  • You cannot purchase any item through HP or lease
  • You must not order or purchase any items until the grant funding has been awarded
  • It is important to note that the grant is up to 40%
  • You must be able to pay and provide evidence to the RPA through a VAT invoice and the business bank statement that the item has been paid for before you can claim the grant
  • If successful you must purchase all items applied for before submitting a claim
  • Claims must be submitted within 150 days of the application being approved
  • The final date for the RPA to pay for a claim is the 31st December 2020

Full details of the handbook and a link to the application website can be found here