Almost 3,000 farmers have applied for the second tranche of Tier 1 of Northern Ireland's Farm Business Improvement Scheme.
Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) announced today that 2,996 applications had been received from farmers and growers ahead of the deadline on Friday, February 2, 2018.
Tier 1 is designed to support small-scale investments that will improve the sustainability of farm businesses.
It includes support for the purchase of equipment and machinery, costing from £5,000 to £30,000, from a list of eligible items.
Almost all of the applications were submitted online.
Farm safety assessment
This year all applicants were required to complete a farm safety risk assessment as part of their application.
A department spokesman said the 'Making it Safer' risk assessment is a practical way of raising farmers’ awareness of health and safety on their premises.
The assessment aimed to highlight that it is good practice to do a regular review of how work is carried out and to put in place safer farm practices.
All the applications received are now being assessed against the scheme’s eligibility requirements.
Eligible applications will be ranked according to the scheme’s selection criteria and letters of offer will be issued to the highest scoring applications, subject to confirmation of budget availability.
It is envisaged that the second Tranche of Tier 1 of FBIS-Capital will have a budget of £7.5 million (€8.4 million), subject to budget availability in 2018-19.
Eligible applications will be ranked according to the scheme selection criteria and the available funding awarded to the highest-scoring applications.
As with Tranche 1, eligible applications will be assessed against the following selection criteria:
- FBIS-C theme band;
- Value for money;
- Online submission;
- Age of applicant;
- Educational attainment.
To be eligible for 'age of applicant' points, the applicant must be a named member of the farm business and be 40 years of age or younger on January 3, 2018.