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Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has doubled the amount of money available under the latest tranche of Tier 1 of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme (FBIS) – Capital to £15million.

He took the decision following the huge response to his call for farm businesses to invest in Low Emissions Slurry Spreading Equipment (LESSE).

Now the third tranche of Tier 1 of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme - Capital (FBIS-C), which closed on 4 December 2020, will offer up to £15million in support for smaller scale investments to improve the sustainability of farm businesses.

Minister Poots said: “I am delighted to see such a positive response to the third tranche of Tier 1 FBIS Capital, particularly for Low Emission Slurry Spreading Equipment. It highlights the willingness of our farmers and growers to invest in the sustainability of their businesses.

I want to support that willingness to invest by doubling the allocation for this tranche from £7.5million to £15million. This will have a positive knock-on effect for many local agricultural and horticultural supply businesses and will contribute to my aim to develop a sustainable agricultural industry in Northern Ireland.”

Over 3,800 applications were received to the third tranche of the scheme, which is designed to support small scale investments that will improve the sustainability of farm businesses through the purchase of equipment and machinery, costing from £5,000 to £30,000, from a list of eligible items.

Letters of Offer will begin to issue for eligible applications from early February, commencing with those receiving the highest score and continuing over a number of weeks until the available budget is fully allocated.