Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA has today announced the re-opening of the Farm Modernisation Programme (FMP).
Making her announcement as she visited the dairy farm of Colm Quinn near Ballygawley, Co Tyrone who received funding under FMP, the Minister said: “Since 2010 over 2,900 farm businesses have benefitted from this programme. Tranche 3 will provide a further £5.5million of financial support to farm businesses to modernise and improve their production techniques. This has proved to be a very popular programme in the past and I know this tranche has been much anticipated. The application period is open from today until at 4.00pm on 19 October 2012.”
The Minister added: “FMP is all about modernising farms and by doing so improving their competitiveness, efficiency and sustainability. Another key objective of this round of funding is to support the younger farmers who are the future of our industry. I am very pleased to see that Colm has used the support to invest in technology that improves his herd performance and efficiency.”
The Minister explained that as with the previous tranche, farmers are being encouraged to submit their applications electronically through the award of additional marks, although paper applications will continue to be accepted, by hand or by post.
“We introduced this selection criterion in Tranche 2 and over 87% of applications were submitted by this method. I realise that not everyone in the farming community may be totally comfortable with, or have the facilities for, online applications, however as before we are providing support and assistance for anyone who requires help. Our delivery agent, Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership, will have a Helpline (Tel: 0845 0267 535) in place and farmers who call this number will be directed to a range of local sources of support. Full details of the selection criteria and eligibility requirements will be available in the Tranche 3 Explanatory Booklet which should be carefully read before submitting an application.”
The Minister concluded: “I hope all eligible farmers will consider what FMP can offer to them to modernise their farm. I would encourage potential applicants to now carefully consider the range of modernising equipment for which financial support is available and to select those items which will assist to modernise their farm business within the budget available to the farm. With the grant available from my Department, this Tranche potentially represents an investment of over £13 million in the rural economy when the farmers’ contribution is added.”