Key reminders for successful applicants
Back in February, the RPA issued GFA (Grant Funding Agreement) acceptance emails to those who were successful with their FETF (Farming Equipment and Technology Fund) applications.
Here are our key reminders for members now completing the claim element of this scheme in order to ensure success.
The claim deadline is 31 October 2022.
Completing a successful claim
1. Order items as soon as possible
If you have not already done so, please order all the eligible items that you have successfully applied for without further delay. There will be keen demand, particularly for some items.
It is also important to speak to suppliers if you have not already done so. Do not leave it to the last minute. Understand the timelines and production cycles that are involved with the items you are purchasing.
Stay in touch with suppliers to ensure items are still on schedule for their delivery dates. This is important if the items have a long build time or require importation.
When working with a supplier, make sure they understand what needs to be on the associated paperwork as set out in the guidance, such as the correct business name that matches the GFA and eligible items invoiced separately to other non-grant items and ideally with the FETF code being used.
To help you remember these timelines, it's a good idea to make a note of not just the deadline but also to put regular reminders in your diary or calendar of what you need to do or have ready to send to the RPA.
2. Report any supply problems to the RPA
The RPA states in its guidance that if you are having difficulties obtaining an item(s) you should contact them as soon as possible by emailing [email protected]
You will need to tell the RPA the make and model of the item and the supplier(s) you have tried to source the item from.
The RPA may agree amendments to your GFA based on a number of exceptional circumstance categories set out in the scheme manual.
3. Read the manual
Make sure that you read the scheme manual and ensure you understand the minimum specifications for your items, as well as the rules around purchasing. For example, there are rules around paying by credit cards, or buying groups, or on account.
Also remember that some methods of funding are not eligible.
Equally important is to have the paper trail ready to submit to the RPA in as user-friendly version as possible.
It will help all concerned by purchasing the eligible items separately from non-eligible items as the RPA will have a clearer audit trail to work from.
There is helpful information around purchase and payment for eligible items in the scheme manual, so refer to this early on.
The RPA can support you via its email address [email protected] (quote your business name, SBI number and FETF reference number in your email).
Alternatively you can call the RPA on 03000 200 301 and select the option for the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund.
4. Claiming and evidence
Having accepted the GFA via the acceptance portal, by the claim deadline you need to have:
- purchased all the items applied for on your GFA
- paid for all the items
- had them delivered
- had any items installed and made operational (if required).
All items need to have been bought after the date the RPA approval e-mail was sent to you.
You must submit the single whole claim declaration form containing all the evidence needed, such as:
- suitably detailed invoices
- copies of payment evidence such as bank statements
- photographs of various aspects of the items such as serial numbers and any CE markings.
You must submit your claim form from the email address registered in the Rural Payments service to the RPA email address: [email protected]
For full details, please refer to the claim section of the government's FETF guidance.
Please do also watch the RPA’s YouTube video: How to apply for the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund.
Correcting a mistake
If you realise you’ve made a mistake after submitting your claim, contact the RPA at [email protected] immediately, to discuss what to do.
5. Deadline and payments
These aforementioned steps are critical as the claim deadline of midnight 31 October 2022 will soon be upon us with a busy farming period ahead. So working back from the claim deadline is key and keep it in focus.
Remember this deadline is a longstop deadline. You can claim before then if you are ready to do so. The RPA has already received and started to pay out against eligible claims since March.
In fact, if all the claims are submitted to the RPA in the last week of the claims window it will take longer to process payments and pay people. The quicker you get all your claim information in, the quicker you could get paid.
This is important when the grant is paid in a single payment in arrears. This situation can impact on cash flow.
The RPA aims to pay your claim as soon as possible either within 30 working days of receipt of your claim evidence or within the agreed published timescales for the claim submission window.
What is the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund?
The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund is similar in essence to the Countryside Productivity Small Grants Scheme (CPSG). It is designed to enable farmers, contractors and foresters in England to apply for investment funding for a pre-determined list of standard cost items.
The decision to enable contractors to apply for funding (including those working in the livestock, dairy, arable and horticultural sectors) reflects the many different methods employed in modern farming businesses. Defra hopes this will allow equipment purchased through the fund to benefit more farmers.
- The total budget for the first round of the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund is £17m.
- The maximum grant anyone can receive during the lifetime of the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund is £50k.
What sort of equipment is covered?
- There are 120 items of equipment on the list.
- There are 38 items that weren't available through the Countryside Productivity Small Grants Scheme.
- Three items that were previously available through the Countryside Productivity Small Grants Scheme are no longer eligible for funding through this scheme.
- Second-hand items are not allowed.
Below is an outline of the items covered. This is not an exhaustive list.