You can apply for a capital grant items to improve farm and horticulture productivity through:

  • The use of robotic or automatic equipment and systems to aid crop and livestock production
  • Wavelength specific LED lighting for horticultural crops
  • Advanced ventilation control units
  • Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems 

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will prioritise funding for projects that: 

  • Improve productivity
  • Improve the environment
  • Introduce innovation
  • Introduce technology to address labour shortage (farm productivity projects) 

The more your project meets the grant’s funding priorities, the higher your application will score.

The online checker, which is the first stage of the application process is now open until 21st March 2024

Who can apply for the Improving Farm Productivity Grant

You can apply for a grant if you’re a farmer or horticulturalist in England. Contractors can also apply if they have a registered business address in England.    

Contractors are defined as a business (including a sole trader) that carries out an agricultural or horticultural activity as a service. Contractors are not eligible to apply for solar PV grant funding.

How much money can you apply for?

Farm Productivity Grants

The minimum grant amount is £25,000 (40% of £62,500), the maximum grant is £500,000 per applicant business. This is for applications that include robotic or automatic equipment, wavelength specific LED lighting and/or advanced ventilation control units but does not include solar PV equipment.

You can use the grant to pay for:  

  • Harvesting technology
  • Weeding technology
  • Robotic spraying technology
  • Driverless tractors or platforms
  • Voluntary robotic milking system
  • Feeding robots
  • Transplanting technology
  • Slurry robots 

Solar Grants

If your application is for solar PV equipment only, the minimum grant you can apply for is £15,000 (25% of £60,000). The maximum grant is £100,000 per applicant business.

You can use the grant to pay for:  

  • Solar PV panels
  • Solar batteries
  • Inverters
  • Utility meters
  • Electrical grid connections
  • Power diverters 

Solar PV panels can only be installed on: 

  • Farm building rooftops
  • Irrigation reservoirs

If you want to apply for both a Solar grant and a Farm Productivity grant, you must submit 2 separate applications. The maximum grant across all submitted applications is £500,000 in total, per applicant business.

Other eligible costs  

Other eligible costs for Farm Productivity projects can include: 

  • Installation and commissioning of eligible items
  • Alterations to the electrical supply within the holding to accommodate the installation of the equipment, for example, additional wiring from the distribution board
  • Upgrade of electricity supply to the holding (providing this doesn’t add up to more than 10% of the project’s total eligible costs). The eligible cost must relate to the project to be undertaken. For example, if the project requires an additional 100 kW of electrical supply and the new supply is 200 kW, only half of the cost will be eligible. There needs to be clear detailed evidence of the power requirement of the project in the full application
  • Installation of charging points being an integral part of the robotic equipment

How the Improving Farm Productivity grant works

Stage 1:

You can complete the online checker to see if you’re eligible and how well your project fits the funding priorities.

If you wish to proceed, you can submit your online application using the checker.  

If demand is high, RPA will prioritise projects that best meet the scheme priorities. The RPA will tell you if you are shortlisted to make a full application after the online checker has closed.

Stage 2:  

If you’re eligible and your project scores highly enough against the funding priorities, the RPA will send you an application form and project number to make a ‘full application’. 

Applicants will have until 30th June 2025 to complete their full application.  

If your full application is eligible and scores highly enough, RPA will offer you a grant.

Here’s how our farm consultants can help:

Assess your needs: We’ll work with you to understand your requirements and goals, including the type of equipment you need, your budget, and your timeline.

Evaluate the grant options: We’ll research the available grant options, including the eligibility criteria, the application process, and the deadlines. We’ll help you identify the most suitable grant for your needs.

Conduct a financial appraisal: We’ll perform a financial appraisal of your project, including the cost of the equipment, the expected benefits, and the potential risks. We’ll help you identify the most cost-effective solution.

Complete the application: We’ll assist you in completing the grant application, including the required documentation and the submission process. We’ll help you prepare a compelling proposal that highlights the benefits of your project.

Provide financing options: We’ll help you identify financing options, including loans, leases, and other financial products. We’ll help you evaluate the pros and cons of each option and choose the most suitable one.

By following this approach, you can take advantage of available grant funding and achieve your farming goals. Our independent farm consultancy services are designed to help you succeed, and our long-established great track record of success speaks for itself.

For further information on the Improving Farm Productivity Grant Round 2 please contact Douglas Green Consulting

Read more on: Improving Farm Productivity grant Round 2, who can apply and what the grant can pay for