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Six ways to raise finance for your farm diversification venture

Securing finance to fund a new or existing enterprise can be a stumbling block facing many farm businesses.

 

Lauren Dean takes a look at some of the best available to make a difference...

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Six ways to raise finance for your farm #diversification venture

1 – The Land Rover Bursary

 

FOR young farmers who have standout business plans, are passionate about making a difference in their local community and are dedicated to the industry, the Prince’s Countryside Fund has plans to launch its Land Rover Bursary for the sixth year running.

 

Up to five young people aged 21-35 will be offered a 12-month lease of a Land Rover Discovery or Discovery Sport for use on a new business venture, for access to remote clients or transportation of heavy machinery.

 

Next year’s bursary, hoping to be launched in May 2019, will again be focused on supporting young people in their rural careers by providing the vehicle to complete day-to-day work or project-related tasks.

 

Winners of the lease will be required to include video diary progress updates, a written report every six months and at least two activity days arranged by Land Rover during the course of the year.

 

 

2 – Grant giving programme

 

THE Prince’s Countryside Fund has grants of up to £50,000 available for innovative projects which aim to provide a long-term positive impact in local communities.

 

Funding is targeted towards grass-roots organisations to help overcome rural challenges.

 

To be eligible for the grant, applicants must ensure their project is focused on either improving the prospects of viability for family farm businesses, sustaining rural communities and driving economic vibrancy, supporting aid delivery in emergency or building resilience.

 

The fund will be open for grant applications again in January.

 


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3 – Rural Four: Catalyst, Collaborate, Create and Champion

 

PEOPLE suffering rural isolation can apply for grants of up to £25,000 through the Prince’s Countryside Fund’s programme, Rural Four: Catalyst, Collaborate, Create and Champion.

 

The programme of support, open to community projects in England, Scotland and Wales, is funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery and annually aims to help up to 10 rural communities deliver and reinvigorate community assets and services.

 

Assisting with the rebuilding of community assets, the project also aims to improve the health and well-being of 200 socially isolated people and create a lasting legacy of support and community spirit in the areas supported.

 

Now in its second year, the scheme is open all year for grants but organisations and groups applying must have proven success of the community working together and evidence a to show governance structure is in place.

 

4 – Historic building restoration grant

 

A NEW grant scheme is being piloted this year in five National Parks offering funding for land managers to restore their historic farm buildings.

 

The historic building restoration grant has kicked off with £2 million of funding available in Dartmoor, the Lake District, Northumberland, the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales national parks.

 

The aim of the scheme is to help save the iconic historic farm buildings in the English national parks from falling out of use, with a grant offering of up to 80 per cent towards the total cost of restoration.

 

Applications will be accepted until January 31 next year, but applicants need to have applied for and delivered, two mandatory preliminary grants: the implementation plan and feasibility study.

 

Once approved, agreement holders will have two years to complete the works.

 

  • To find out more and to apply, visit gov.uk

 

5 – Scottish upland sheep support scheme

 

AS part of the Scottish Rural Development Programme for 2015-2020, this scheme gives direct support to help maintain sheep flocks in farm businesses reliant on poorer quality rough grazing found in Scotland’s Basic Payment region three.

 

Eligible animals must be retained on the holding, including any winterings, from December 1 in the year of the claim to March 31 the following year. Claims can be made each year from September 1 to November 30.

 

It pays out on ewe hoggs born on Scottish holdings which are less than 12 months old at the start of the retention period.

 

According to the Scottish Government, businesses which rely on poor quality rough grazing are defined as those which have 80 per cent or more of their agricultural land in Scotland’s Basic Payment region three and no more than 200 hectares (494 acres) of good quality agricultural land in Scotland’s Basic Payment region one.

 

6 – Farm diversification grant programme

 

PLAIN Action has continued its Farm Diversification Grant Programme to help farming businesses in Wiltshire diversify into non-farming activities.

 

The programme works through helping farmers support the underlying farm business by bringing in supplementary income in addition to that from traditional farming pursuits.

 

Suggested means of putting underused resources to better use include renovating old farm buildings, or being able to meet local demand for a product or service not currently being met.

 

Grants are available for £5,000-£100,000, but they require 60 per cent match funding.

 

Decision-making panels are held every two months and applications must be submitted no less than one month prior to the panel date chosen.

 

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