NORTH East farmers will soon be able to apply for grants of up to £10,000 under the Catchment Sensitive Farming capital grant fund.
The grants are for a range of schemes including installing water troughs, managing pesticides to reduce groundwater impacts and roofing manure stores.
The grants, courtesy of Natural England, have helped farmers with infrastructure investments which have boosted their profitability and environmental credentials.
Natural England has published maps showing the areas which they are targeting for funding and a number of these target areas are within the North East.
The news has been welcomed by Carlisle-based land agent Tim Sedgewick, of H&H Land and Property.
He said: “The return of the Catchment Sensitive Farming Grant will be positively greeted by farmers in this region.
“We have been involved successfully in applications in previous rounds and many will have heard of neighbours receiving grant funding and thought that they should have applied too.
“We would strongly recommend farmers give some serious thought to how they can take advantage of the capital grants available.”
Those holdings falling within a Priority Catchment Zone are eligible for 50% grants (up to a maximum of £10,000 per holding) towards works such as new roofing to cover feeding and handling areas, concreting yards, waterside fencing and managing stock access to drinking water.
Farmers who have already received funding in previous years will be eligible for further funding, with one application allowed per calendar year.
Providing they can demonstrate the need for further improvement to water management on farm, some new capital items are available for consideration or it may be a simple expansion of existing infrastructure.
The scheme is open to owner-occupiers, landlords and tenants but management control for five years must be demonstrated.
Tenants must get countersignatures from the landowner if their agreements have less than five years to run but are welcomed to apply for the scheme.
Sedgewick added: “I think involvement in green schemes of this nature will reflect well on farmers who choose to profit from its rewards.
“The chance to receive 50% funding for something you are possibly already thinking about should not be dismissed. The application procedure requires some time and thought but with a little effort a successful outcome can be achieved.”
It is expected that the funding mechanism will allow £21m in capital grants to be awarded this year with an expected further £15m for 2013/14.
Natural England will utilise local grant officers who will be responsible for regional priority areas to manage all applications.
The application process runs from March 1 to April 30.
More information is available from www.naturalengland.org.uk or by ringing 03000 601 111.