On 9th June 2022, DEFRA and The Rural Payments Agency announced the Slurry Infrastructure Grant which allows eligible farmers to apply for a grant so they can store and use slurry in a safe, efficient way to maximise crop nutrition and minimise nutrient loss into the environment. Here is our guide on what the new grant offers, how to apply and what to look out for over the coming months.
Who can apply for the Slurry Infrastructure Grant?
If your farming system creates slurry and you farm pigs, beef, or dairy, you may apply for a grant. Both landowners and tenant farmers can apply. Not everyone will be given a grant in the first round. The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will prioritize projects with the greatest environmental effect, focusing on those located near protected sites. RPA will say which locations it will prioritise before applications open.
If you do not get a grant this year, there will be more opportunities to apply in future rounds.
Who cannot apply for the Slurry Infrastructure Grant?
You cannot apply if you’re a:
- poultry farmer
- arable-only farmer
- horticultural grower
You also won’t be eligible for this grant if you already have six months’ worth of slurry storage that is suitable. You can use tools such as the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB) slurry wizard to find out how much slurry storage you’ll require for six months based on your current animal counts.
What are the Slurry Infrastructure Grants for?
The grant may be used to help install, replace, or expand existing slurry facilities that have six months of storage capacity. You must cover all grant-funded stores with an impermeable roof unless you use acidification to treat the slurry.
You could get a 50% grant towards the cost of:
- a range of slurry store types
- impermeable covers
- extra equipment like pumps, pipes, and safety equipment
You can build more than six months of storage, but the grant will only contribute to six months. RPA will check this at full application.
You may replace stores that have exceeded the end of their design life and are likely to leak or break down.
Why should I apply for the Slurry Infrastructure Grant?
As well as the practical benefits of sufficient slurry storage, it is also a legal requirement under several regulations.
In addition, with fertilizer prices increasing threefold, farmers have a resource in slurry that is not being used effectively and could be better utilised. By having an impermeable cover you can prevent rainwater from going into the slurry and watering it down making it less effective. The requirements for the storage with the Slurry Infrastructure Grant are designed to maximise crop nutrition and minimise nutrient losses into the environment and maximise your potential for cost-saving through not having to use increasingly more expensive fertilizer.
How much can you apply for?
There is a £250,000 maximum for each applicant firm, up to a 50% reimbursement rate on the project’s eligible expenditures. The grant will be paid to you in arrears, once you have completed the job.
When can you apply?
You can apply for the Slurry Infrastructure grant from autumn 2022.
How to apply for the Slurry Infrastructure Grant
There are two stages to applying for the grant which are eligibility and application.
Stage 1: check if you’re eligible using an online checker. The RPA will ask you questions about the store including:
- current and planned storage capacity
- status of planning permission
If your project is identified as high priority for round one, the RPA will invite you to submit a full application.
Stage 2: submit a full application. You’ll also need to produce a project plan including:
- details about the store design and location
- how you calculated the storage capacity needs
- confirmation that the store meets with storing slurry rules and build standard requirements
The RPA and the Environment Agency will check these details to ensure your store meets the rules for storing slurry and grant requirements.
If you submit a full application and it is successful, you’ll get a funding agreement and can begin work on the project. You can then claim your grant payment once you complete the work.
As part of your grant funding agreement, you’ll also need to
- maintain six months’ storage capacity for the duration of the agreement create and
- use a nutrient management plan
How FOLK2FOLK can help
Because the Slurry Infrastructure Grant is paid in arrears, having access to cash to be able to embark on the project in the first place may be a challenge for some farmers. At FOLK2FOLK, we have a proven track record of helping farmers access this type of grant. Talk to us about how you can get an interest-only business loan to enable you to undertake the project, by using your land/property as security and the grant as your exit plan to repay the loan. We’re here to help you secure the finance you need to improve your farm business.