Minister announces programme to help modernise farm businesses
Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA today announced her intention to open the Farm Modernisation Programme on 28 January 2009 with funding of £15.25million.
Speaking in the Assembly the minister said: "This will be welcome news at the end of what has been a very difficult period for all sectors of the agriculture and horticulture industries.
"The Farm Modernisation Programme will contribute to improving the competitiveness and economic performance of farm businesses in the North. Funded by the NI Rural Development Programme 2007-13 (NIRDP) under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), the programme will provide financial support for farm businesses to invest in new technologies to modernise their holdings. The items eligible for support have been drawn up by my Department in conjunction with representatives of the farming unions."
The Farm Modernisation Programme will offer up to £5,000 financial support to enable farm businesses to purchase a wide range of plant, machinery and equipment from a pre-defined list of eligible items. Alternatively, financial support of up to £10,000 will be available for a limited list of advanced slurry handling equipment under a sub-programme to be known as the Manure Efficiency Technology Scheme (METS). Farm businesses can apply for financial support of 40% of the purchase cost of these items up to the maximum amount allowable for each item.
Applications will be received from 17 February 2009. Eligible applications for funding will be considered on a first come, first served basis. Applications received before this date will not be eligible for financial support.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The Farm Modernisation Programme, worth £15.25million (including administration costs) will be funded under Axis 1 Measure 3 (Modernisation of Agricultural Holdings) of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2007-13. The programme will receive funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and Investment Strategy NI.
Information packs will be available from 28 January 2009 on the DARD Website www.dardni.gov.uk and from the following DARD offices:
38-54 High Street
Telephone: (028) 25662862
Carnbane Industrial Estate
Telephone: (028) 30253200
Telephone: (028) 44612211
2 Newry Road,
Telephone: (028) 37515600
Telephone: (028) 70341111
Killyhevlin Industrial Estate
Telephone: (028) 66325004
Telephone: (028) 87754777
Telephone: (028) 82251020