Industry insiders have criticised Defra for the way it has chosen to spend England’s £15.9 million allocation of EU funding to help dairy and livestock farmers.
Business management training and grants to buy equipment to cover and protect slurry stores are now available to dairy and livestock farmers in England as part of the EU’s ‘Exceptional Adjustment Scheme’ which was unveiled by farming commissioner Phil Hogan in July this year.
Farming minister George Eustice said: “Our farmers are recognised the world over for producing high-quality food, but low global prices and market volatility has meant many have faced another tough year, particularly in the dairy and livestock sectors.
“We continue to do what we can to help and have again secured one of the largest support packages to help those sectors most affected by the challenging economic climate.”
AHDB will run the business management training, which includes modules on risk management tools, best practice and co-operation.
But some in the industry have criticised Defra for ‘missing an opportunity’ to use the money better, pointing out relatively few beef producers have slurry stores and more environmental options could have been covered.
Others suggested the funding could be directed towards animal health or the setting up of producer groups.
The UK allocations are: Scotland, £2.4 million; Wales, £3.2 million and Northern Ireland, £4.1 million.
Northern Ireland will spend its funding on animal health through BVD and pig health programmes. It will also be used to help develop soil testing and financial planning, to make farm businesses more efficient.
The Scottish and Welsh Governments have yet to announce how they will spend their allocations.
Farmers wanting to find out more about the training should contact Tess Howe (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For a slurry store grant, visit the GOV.UK website and submit an application by Tuesday, January 31 2017. Applicants will receive a free one-to-one farm advice visit to help them find the best ammonia reduction measures for their businesses.