Farming Transformation Fund – Slurry Infrastructure grant

13 June 2022

Livestock Dairy Agricultural Transition Plan
An image of an on-farm slurry store

Defra has published the first details about its Slurry Infrastructure grant. Part of the Farming Transformation Fund under the Farming Investment Fund, the scheme will open for applications in autumn 2022.

The Slurry Infrastructure grant is intended to help livestock farmers who are already using a slurry system to upgrade their slurry storage to reach six months' storage capacity.

This is designed to enable farmers to go beyond the minimum of four months' storage required by the Storing silage, slurry and agricultural fuel oil rules to help meet the Farming Rules for Water and spread slurries to meet crop needs, rather than wasting them because of a lack of storage.

Grant information

As with the other themes under the Farming Transformation Fund, there will be a two-stage application process.

The first stage is an online 'eligibility checker' which will open this autumn, followed by a full application process this winter for those with the projects that score the strongest in the eligibility checker.

The minimum grant you can apply for is £25,000. The maximum grant is £250,000.

Grants can cover up to a maximum rate of 50% of the eligible costs of a project.

You must pay the rest of the project costs with money from private sources, such as savings or a bank loan.

You can read more about the scheme at the Defra website: Farming Investment Fund – new Slurry Infrastructure grants coming in autumn 2022

Eligibility

All dairy, beef and pig farmers already using a slurry system can apply. You can use the grant to:

  • replace existing stores that are no longer fit for purpose
  • build additional storage, if your current stores are compliant
  • expand otherwise compliant storage, for example by adding another ring to a steel tank.

NFU input

We've worked with members and extensively with the Defra team over the past eight months through a combination of co-design and bilateral engagement, building up a good working relationship to help shape the offer.

We have made a real difference to move the offer on from Defra's initial thinking, such as the ability now for a farmer to choose from a wide range of infrastructure types to suit their farm as well as the grant not being restricted to just new installations.

We have also been keen that Defra releases the information it has as early as it can to help farmers prepare and plan for the initial application that follows. While light on detail, this information at least starts to help us understand what is on offer.

We are continuing to work with Defra and we would welcome any feedback from members. Please send us your views by email at [email protected].

How the RPA will prioritise projects

This is the first time Defra has run national slurry storage grants for many years. So, a high demand is expected. Not everyone will get a grant in the first round.

In the first year, the RPA (Rural Payments Agency) will prioritise projects that have the biggest environmental impact, focusing on those located near protected sites. The RPA will say which locations it will prioritise before applications open.

We will monitor the situation closely to ensure as equal an opportunity is given to all those interested with this offer.

Defra's intention

As part of the ATP (Agricultural Transition Plan), Defra wants to support farmers to manage the nutrients in their slurry and manure well. This is an area that has not been effectively regulated in the past due to financial barriers.

The grant will allow livestock farmers who have a slurry-based system to store slurry in a safe, efficient way that maximises crop nutrition and minimises nutrient losses into the environment.

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