£120 million will be made available for rural development grants the Secretary of State announced at the Oxford Farming Conference.
The rural development grants are available to support farmers grow their businesses and increase job opportunities in rural areas.
Applications for the next round of RDPE funding will soon be open to farm owners and rural businesses to enhance growth, develop new products and reach new export markets as well support startup farmers and rural businesses.
The rural development grants have already helped farmers and rural businesses grow and increase employment in rural areas as well as benefit the environment and improve sustainability.
Dovecote Farm in Northants has benefited from the last round of rural development grants and restored floodplain meadows along the Nene Valley and protected the local wildlife’s habitat.
Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said at the Oxfordshire Farming Conference
For too long, a bureaucratic system, which tries to meet the needs of 28 different member states, has held farmers back.
But now, we have the chance to design a domestic successor to CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] that works for all of you, rather than the entire European Union.
As we work towards this, it’s really important that we’ve been able to reassure farmers that they will receive the same level of financial support until 2020 – and Pillar 2 payments signed before we leave the EU will be guaranteed for their lifetime.
And today I can give further certainty by announcing that the Rural Development Program is ready to fund its next wave of projects.
So, in the next few months, up to £120 million will be made available to help support rural growth.
The rural development grants have previously helped projects such as installing cutting-edge equipment to restoring flood plains, the next round of grants is aimed at increasing productivity, supporting start-up rural businesses, creating more jobs, selling more products, and increasing export markets.
Rural & Farming Priorities
Andrea Leadsom also claimed that other priorities to support the farming and rural businesses include:
- Ensuring farm subsidies would not only continue but be paid on time.
- Improved flood resilience. Aiming to better protect over 1 million acres of farmland by 2021.
- On top of the £2.5 billion committed to spend on flood defenses.
- Bovine TB eradication program will be applying for TB-Free status in 2017, 2 years ahead of schedule.
- To remain vigilant against any threats to animal or plant health, including the latest threat of avian influenza.
- Price volatility on farm inputs remain a challenge but the Government is supporting farmers and due to their reforms farmers can now average their profits for income tax over a five-year period.
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