Farmers across the UK have reason to celebrate as £31 million has been made available in the latest round of the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF). This funding will enable farmers to access new equipment and technology to boost sustainable food production, reducing emissions and minimizing waste.
The FETF provides financial support to farming businesses, allowing them to invest in tools and resources that enhance sustainable production in agriculture, horticulture, and forestry. The Productivity and Slurry grants, part of the FETF, specifically target equipment and technology that help farmers use fewer resources, reduce emissions, and cut waste.
This year, the demand for the FETF 2023 Productivity and Slurry grants was overwhelming, with over 3,000 applications received. Responding to this high demand, the government has increased the total funding from £17 million to £31 million. In addition, the scheme has expanded to include 21 new items, ensuring a wider range of equipment is covered. The newly added items include camera-guided inter-row sprayers, mulchers for forestry, orchards, vineyards, and rainwater harvesting tanks.
The grants will enable farmers to obtain essential equipment that contributes to profitable farming practices while delivering positive environmental outcomes. For example, the grants cover equipment such as direct drills with fertilizer placement for precision drilling of arable and cover crops, robotic drills and guided hoes to reduce herbicide usage, rainwater harvesting tanks to combat water scarcity, tree shears to stop the spread of pests and diseases, and dribble bars to minimize grass contamination and ammonia emissions when spreading slurry.
The significance of the FETF 2023 Productivity and Slurry grants highlight the determination of farmers to adopt sustainable practices while maintaining productivity and protecting landscapes and habitats. By empowering farms with the necessary resources, the government is supporting innovation and sustainable farming practices. This investment ensures that farmers, growers, and foresters have access to the equipment they need to contribute to a thriving and sustainable agricultural sector.
The FETF 2023 forms part of the government’s broader commitment to invest £2.4 billion per year in farming. In 2023 alone, £168 million is being made available through various grants and competitions to enhance farming productivity, research, and innovation.
The FETF 2023 is divided into two themes: Animal Health and Welfare, and Productivity and Slurry. The Animal Health and Welfare strand has its separate portal to streamline the application process. Additionally, 66 new items have been added to this strand, further supporting the welfare of animals in the farming industry. The government plans to offer additional rounds of FETF funding in the future. Moreover, larger grants will support investments in water storage, improving irrigation and slurry infrastructure, and funding for automation and robotics.
This announcement follows the Farm to Fork Summit at Downing Street, where the government reaffirmed its commitment to the farming sector. The support unveiled during the summit includes measures to ensure the sector remains at the forefront of adopting new technologies and techniques. With the implementation of the FETF 2023 Productivity and Slurry grants, farmers in the UK can embrace sustainable practices, reduce their environmental impact, and enhance productivity, ensuring a prosperous future for both food production and the environment.
Image provided by Neal Smith