Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Lynch welcomes opening of Farm Business Improvement Scheme

Published: 9 November, 2015

Sinn Féin MLA Seán Lynch has welcomed the opening of the first phase of the £250million Farm Business Improvement Scheme and is encouraging farmers to apply for entry into the Business Development Groups, which is now open and closes on Monday 14th December.

Mr Lynch said,

"The Business Development Groups are the first phase of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme and will offer numerous benefits to farmers, such as direct access to a CAFRE Development Adviser, the option to gain a qualification, and the chance to keep up to date with the latest technologies.

"Each Business Development Group will comprise a cluster of 15 - 20 farmers from the same farming sector who will meet on farms up to 8 times a year to carry out talks, demonstrations and skills training. Funding is available for completing the workshops as well as hosting a farm visit.

"From these meetings, participants have the chance to develop and tailor a business plan for their agri-business and it is, therefore, an extremely valuable scheme which participating farmers will benefit from leading up to the second phase: the capital element scheme, which opens next year.

"The capital element scheme will provide farmers with 40% and 50% grant aid to a maximum of £250,000 towards:

· Construction of new farm buildings and refurbishment of existing buildings;

· Purchase of machinery which can improve the performance of the farm;

· Equipment to improve nutrient management;

· Installation of environmentally approved water management systems;

· Investments to improve resource efficiency on the farm;

· Feasibility studies for renewable energy.

"I commend Minister Michelle O'Neill and DARD in working together to deliver this and would encourage all interested parties to visit the following webpages for further information.

DARD website: http://www.dardni.gov.uk/business-development-groups

CAFRE website: http://www.cafre.ac.uk/industry-support/business-development-groups/"