The Government has committed extra research and development spending, while farmers are being urged to explore the tax benefits of bringing more innovation to their businesses.
Public R&D spending will be increased by 15 per cent from April, with a plan to more than double funding for all industries to £22 billion by 2024/25. The Government has a goal that public and private R&D funding should increase from 1.7 per cent to 2.4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product by 2027 to bring the UK in-line with other developed economies.
One part of this strategy is to offer tax credits of up to 33 per cent for smaller businesses investing in development.
During the 2017/18 fiscal year £4.260bn in tax credits were claimed by UK businesses, with farming and associated industries taking just £20 million.
That figure was down from £25m the year before. The number of claims in the most recent year was 385, which was down 20 per cent on the year before.
Julie Berry, of RIFT Credit, which advises companies on making claims, said: “Lack of awareness of the scheme and what can be claimed may be holding some farmers back.
“The scheme is to encourage practical development which will make a business more productive and efficient, it is not for ‘blue-sky science’.
"A project where the assistance of outside experts is required; where there has been some trial and error and is advancing the farming industry is likely to qualify for a claim.”
Ms Berry said the scheme can only be claimed by businesses who pay corporation tax but they can claim up to 230 per cent tax relief on qualifying costs in either cash or future tax relief with the possibility of claiming for two previous financial years and subsequent claims for as long as the scheme is incurring costs.
She added: “Livestock and crop projects which improve yield or input efficiency and reduce waste could well qualify for the benefit.”