The National Farmers' Union (NFU) Scotland is reminding its membership that the Sustainable Agriculture Capital Grant Scheme (SACGS) application window closes at midnight on Sunday, October 11.

SACGS can provide capital grant funding of up to £20,000 for farmers and crofters to purchase specific items of agricultural equipment.

The scheme could cover 50% of capital items costs (or 60% if the business is in the Highlands and Islands).

The main objectives of the scheme are to protect and improve the natural environment, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support sustainable farming and land use.

Each capital item will deliver specific benefits and each item will be allocated a certain number of "green points" based upon how much it delivers on the key scheme objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, taking into account wider benefits.

Applicants do not need to submit quotes with applications but, if successful in their scheme application, they are required to present proof of purchase and payment at the point of claiming the grant.

Successful applicants must buy all the items applied for and submit their claim for payment by March 31, 2021. The items purchased must meet the minimum specifications of the scheme.

'The application process is relatively simple'

NFU Scotland policy manager Jenny Brunton said:

"The SACGS application window closes at midnight on Sunday, October 11.

The application process is relatively simple and applicants can utilise already completed carbon audits, animal health plans and nutrient management plans to gain additional 'green points' for the scoring system.

"The £10 million SACGS pilot grant scheme is a positive first step forward in taking the transition to lower emissions in farming to the next level," Brunton commented.

"NFU Scotland believes much wider support will be needed in the future to provide a greater variety of options that will allow every farm and croft to access measures appropriate to their business to deliver climate change targets.

"It will also help support a more significant number of businesses from all sectors across Scottish agriculture to tackle climate change, increase biodiversity and improve water and air quality," she concluded.