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Farmers Urged Not to Miss Out on Catchment Sensitive Farming Funding 2012-04-03

From the River Aln in Northumberland to the River Exe in Devon, farmers in 75 areas of England can now apply for grants of up to £10,000 from the Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) Capital Grants Scheme.

Cattle gathering area - Before work supported by CGS

Cattle gathering area - Before work supported by CGS

Grants are available for carrying out practical works on the farm that will boost the health of England’s precious streams, rivers, meres and mosses by improving water quality and reducing pollution from agricultural activity. The grant scheme, which is administered by Natural England, is open to farmers and land managers in the CSF scheme’s target areas.

This year’s Capital Grants Scheme is now open and information and application forms are available online or contact the Natural England CSF team on 0300 060 1111 to request an application pack. The deadline for completed applications to be returned is Monday 30th April.

Farm improvement works can be funded with up to 50% grant aid from the scheme. More than 40 types of project are eligible, including installing water troughs, managing pesticides to reduce groundwater impacts, roofing manure & silage stores and works to keep livestock away from streams.

Andy Foot, who farms in the Dorset Stour, said: “I would encourage all farmers to get involved with the project as it is there to help. The grant can give you the kick start you need and the specialist training and advice that’s also on offer through CSF has been invaluable and doesn’t cost you anything.”

Cattle gathering area - After work supported by CGS

Cattle gathering area - After work supported by CGS

A network of Catchment Sensitive Farming project officers provide practical training, advice and grants to help farmers and land managers to take voluntary action to protect water bodies and the natural environment.

Ian Fugler, Director of Land Management at Natural England added: “The deadline for applying for grants from the Capital Grants Scheme is fast approaching and I would urge farmers in the priority catchment areas to act now and put in an application. Projects funded by this scheme over recent years are already providing savings for thousands of farmers and enhancing local environments throughout England by improving water quality.

“It is not just the grant that the CSF project offers to farmers, although that is a great incentive to carry out works around the farm. It is also the amount of free specialist advice and training available – good soil management and better use of manures not only helps the environment but can save large amounts of money.”

Since it began five years ago over 3,000 farmers and land managers have received around £30m in grants for capital works.

Defra has recently announced an extension to the CSF Capital Grants Scheme and is making an additional £14 million available in 2012/13, bringing the total annual budget to over £21m. An extra £8 million will be made available in 2013/14. This means more farmers in the priority catchments can apply for a grant to make improvements that will reduce diffuse water pollution.

The Catchment Sensitive Farming Project is an excellent example of what can be achieved through partnership working and provides a great way for land managers to show their support for the Government’s new ‘Love Your River’ campaign.

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