Farmers across Lancashire are being encouraged to apply for funding which has been set aside to help farms become more efficient, diversify or access the local tourism market.
Across the county more than £2.5m has been allocated to Lancashire as part of the Rural Development Programme for England. The scheme is administered via three ‘Leader’ groups (Lancashire North and Bowland, Lancashire West and Lancashire Pennine Moors) and the aim is to create jobs and help businesses grow which will then benefit the rural economy.
The typical grant rate is 40% and can be used for a myriad of activities. Examples of items which have received support include a business which received £46,164 , 40% of the total cost of a potato washing facility, a new brewery to emerge from a family farm in Cockerham and the conversion of a redundant farm building into a dedicated farm shop and tea room.
1. Email cnVyYWxmdW5kaW5nQGxhbmNhc2hpcmUuZ292LnVr to check that your postcode is located within an eligible rural area.
2. If your postcode is eligible, you will need to check that your project fits within one of the six funding priorities (available online).
3. Lancashire County Council will then invite eligible projects to complete an expression of interest form.
4. If approved you will then be invited to submit a full application.
For more information, you should contact Karen Lawrenson on 01772 538797 or Louise Kite on 01772 534134.
Case study – NFU Lancaster member Ian Pye
Ian Pye owns and runs an organic dairy enterprise near to Garstang in Lancashire. It totals 165 acres, with 120 cows, growing some arable crops for livestock feed too. The farm hosts school visits with approximately 1,250 schoolchildren visiting per year. Ian also owns Old Holly Ltd, which includes a farm shop, tearooms and indoor children's play area. A separate on-site unit is also rented out that makes ice cream using milk from the farm - this is run as a separate business by a third party called Cool Cow Ice Cream.
Under the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000, livestock must have a number of freedoms. Freedom from discomfort includes providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area. Stress can lead to poor welfare levels which can lead to adverse metabolic changes in the dairy cow and can have significant effects on their health and productivity.
Ian sought £10,331 of Leader funding to provide a high welfare calving area for the farm, alongside ventilation fans and LED lights. These changes and additions have had a positive effect on the health, fertility, welfare and productivity of the dairy cattle, as well as reducing vet bills. The project created one full-time member of staff.
As a result of the funding, Ian won the McDonald's UK Supply Chain Awards Ceremony - Farmer Innovation Award 2016. The reason Ian won was due to his forward thinking approach and passion for educating the public as to where their food comes from.