The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has welcomed the opening of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme Capital (FBIS-C) tier one, tranche four.

The organisation has confirmed that the news has been well received by its members. The scheme opens today (Tuesday, September 27).

Announced by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Minister for Agriculture, Edwin Poots has allocated £10 million for this tranche of tier one, which will focus on higher input costs.

Tier one, tranche four of the FBIS-C encourages smaller scale investments to improve the sustainability of farm businesses in Northern Ireland (NI).

The scheme will support the purchase of equipment and machinery ranging from £5,000 to £30,000, from a list of eligible items. 

UFU deputy president William Irvine said:

“The fourth tranche of the FBIS-C tier one will be welcome news for farmers, particularly at a time with on-farm input costs continuing to rise.

“The scheme will enable family farm businesses across Northern Ireland to help deliver on-farm developments, environmental practices and efficiencies which should help to reduce costs.

“In turn, this will have positive benefits not only on the environment but our rural economy and the sustainability of NI’s agricultural industry.”

Farm Business Improvement Scheme

DAERA has increased the item mark on a number of items available in tier one tranche four. This is to help farm businesses manage the impacts of increased feed, fuel and fertiliser costs.

“The UFU had suggested that a number of additional items should be added to the DAERA list of equipment, and we are pleased to hear that a number of these have been accepted and will be eligible for grant aid. 

“The focus of this tranche is on grassland management, silage quality, feed efficiency and precision farming, and will go towards helping some farmers to part address the rising costs on farms which will be beneficial for the industry.

“I encourage farmers to carefully consider the options available and to only apply for what they need,” he stated.

The UFU has recommended that farmers give themselves plenty of time to carefully review all the options that would suit their farm business going forward, and to ensure sure that they can meet all the necessary conditions of the scheme.