Farmer Network Grant Update

This document is designed to help Farmer Network members understand more about what grants are currently available not including the Basic Payment Scheme.




  1. Leader Programmes
  2. Countryside Stewardship Schemes
  3. Countryside Productivity grants
  4. Other local schemes of relevance to farmers
  5. Farmer Network Schemes – Training Vouchers and Young Farmers support scheme
  6. Application timetable and deadlines




The Leader Programmes offer grants for:


  • Equipment linked to improving farm productivity and animal health/welfare
  • Support for developing small rural businesses
  • Farm diversification projects
  • Support for tourism activity
  • Innovative approaches to rural services
  • Support for cultural and heritage activity
  • Support for increasing forestry productivity


There is a 2 stage application process with an initial Expression of Interest followed by a more detailed second stage application.  Grants are at 40% of eligible costs, with a minimum grant of £2,500 up to a maximum of €200,000 (but note that grants for farm productivity equipment in Cumbria are limited to £10,000).  Apart from farm productivity, for every £30,000 of grant, applicants must be able to create at least 1 new full-time equivalent job.


Of most interest to farmers are farm diversification grants and equipment linked to farm productivity.   There is a list of eligible equipment on the website under the funding priorities section.  In general, basic farm equipment is not eligible but the list does include slurry separators, trailing shoes and shallow injection systems, LED lighting, gait analysis, EID readers and weighing systems, oestrus detection and mobile handling systems. For the dairy sector, eligible equipment includes cluster flush, robotic milking systems, automatic footbaths, heat exchangers, variable speed vacuum pumps and plate coolers.


More information is on the Leader websites for each area:


If you are interested in applying, the first stage is to contact your local Leader office using the e mail enquiry form on their website or by giving them a call.




There are 3 main elements to the Stewardship schemes – Mid-Tier, Higher-Tier and capital grants for woodlands and for hedgerows and boundaries.  Because of their complexity, we have not attempted to outline the main payments for the Mid and Higher Tier Schemes but have given information about the capital grants.  More details about each of these grants are on the Stewardship website at:


  1. Mid-Tier Stewardship including grants to improve water quality and to reduce flooding

The Mid-Tier Stewardship scheme now includes Water Capital grants which previously were known as the Catchment Sensitive Farming grants.  The list of items funded now also includes Natural Flood Management features.


Water Capital grants are only for priority catchments and you need to be recommended for a grant by your Natural England project officer.  Grants are at standard costs up to a maximum of £10,000 and include a range of items aimed at reducing diffuse pollution such as concreting of yards, livestock tracks, roofing over of manure/slurry stores/livestock gathering areas, relocation of sheep dips/pens, resurfacing of gateways and riverbank fencing.


In 2017, the scheme opened in March with a deadline for ordering application packs of 31st July and with a deadline for applications of 30th September.


  1. Higher-Tier Stewardship

The Higher Tier element of Countryside Stewardship covers the most environmentally significant sites, commons and woodlands.  The deadline in 2017 was 5th May but agreements are complicated and take time to develop so contact your Natural England project officer as soon as possible to discuss a potential application.


  1. Woodland grant schemes

The Woodland Creation Stewardship grant scheme opens on 2nd January 2018.  This is a 2 year capital works programme to plant and protect young trees. If you’re eligible, a supporting maintenance grant of £200 per hectare for 10 years may also be available.  The deadline for applications is 16 February 2018.  There are also grants to develop Woodland Management Plans for tree health and there is more information on the webpage:


  1. Hedgerow and Boundaries Scheme

The hedgerows and boundaries grant is a standalone capital grant which is aimed at farmers either not in any Stewardship Schemes or just in an Entry Level Stewardship Agreement.  Grants are at standard cost rates – see table below.  The application window normally opens in February with a deadline of the last Friday in April.  The Mid-Tier scheme also includes funding for hedgerows and boundaries.  Farmers coming out of Entry Level Stewardship or who are not currently in a scheme may want to consider applying to Mid-Tier as the standalone hedgerows and boundaries grant is limited to a maximum of £5,000.


Capital Item Payment Rate (£)
Stone-faced bank repair £31/m
Stone-faced bank restoration £86/m
Earth bank restoration £7/m
Hedgerow laying £9.40/m
Hedgerow coppicing £4/m
Hedgerow gapping-up £9.50/m
Hedgerow supplement – Casting up £3/m
Hedgerow supplement – top binding & staking £3.40/m
Stone wall restoration £25/m
Stone wall supplement – top wiring £3.60/m
Stone wall supplement – stone from quarry £44/m
Planting standard hedgerow tree £8.80 per tree


There are two Defra Countryside Productivity schemes currently open for applications with a deadline of 3rd April 2018.


  1. Water Resource Management Grant

This is for irrigation so is unlikely to be of much interest to farmers in our area – we have yet to find a farmer who needs more rain rather than less, so our knowledge of this scheme is limited!


  1. Forestry Productivity Grants

This is available to private forest holders managing at least 10 ha of forest and micro, small, or medium-sized forestry contractor businesses.  Grants can cover up to 40% of the eligible costs and the minimum grant is £35,000.  The deadline is 3 April 2018.

Defra has said it will open an Animal Health and Welfare scheme later this year but no further details are available.  In the meantime, the only grants currently available for farm productivity and animal health/welfare equipment are through the Leader programme.





  1. Local Enterprise Partnerships RDPE Growth Programmes

The Local Enterprise Partnerships are responsible for distributing the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development in their areas.


In Cumbria, there are three funding calls currently open for:

  • Food processing
  • Tourism infrastructure
  • Rural business development


Note The minimum grant application is £35,000 and smaller grants are available from the Leader Programme.  The final deadline for submitting an Expression of interest is 31st January 2018 and more details are on the website:


In Yorkshire, the Enterprise Partnership is offering grants for food processing and tourism.  The grant for tourism is for a minimum of £35,000 up to £2 million but with a minimum grant of £100,000 up to £1 million for food processing schemes.  As in Cumbria the final deadline is 31st January 2018 and more details are on the website: .

In North and East Yorkshire, there are also grants for developing businesses through the Let’s Grow Fund with grants of between £25,000 and £1 million available ranging from 10% to 30% of project costs.  More details are on the website:


The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority SDF supports projects that promote a more sustainable way of living and working in and visiting the National Park, whilst conserving and enhancing local culture, wildlife, landscape, land use and communities.  Projects can be far-ranging from community composting and appropriate renewable energy schemes to sustainable transport and eco-tourism. Grants can also be used to support businesses and economic development projects.  The grants are mainly but not exclusively for groups and for further details see:


The Lake District National Park Communities Fund provides grants of between £500 and £3,000 to help projects that will contribute to the sustainability or wellbeing of Lake District communities.  See





  1. £200 training vouchers

Vouchers worth £200 each per year are available to people working on members’ farms aged between 15 and 40 years of age to spend on training courses such as B&E trailer handling, pesticide use, Artificial Insemination, sheep shearing etc.  For further details, please contact The Farmer Network office 01768 868615.


  1. The Farmer Network’s Support Scheme for Young Farmers

This Scheme is funded by the Prince’s Trust and the Prince’s Countryside Fund and is for young people in Cumbria or the Yorkshire Dales aged 18–30, who are passionate about setting up or developing a farming or farming–related business, but are limited by the resources or opportunities available to them. The Programme provides participants with an understanding of what is needed to run a business and the time to develop business ideas one-to-one with a local experienced farm business adviser. If a young person’s business plan proves feasible, they may apply to The Prince’s Trust for a low-interest loan and grants towards market research and training. If they are awarded a loan, they receive ongoing voluntary support from a local business mentor.


If you are, or if you know of a young person who might be interested in the Scheme, please contact Kate Gascoyne on 01768 881462, Mobile 07548934282 or E mail:



Farmers frequently say that they find out about a grant only to find they have missed the application window or that they have left insufficient time to get the information required. Please keep checking the relevant websites, but the following page gives a guide to application deadlines based on current information and the 2017 timetable.


Farmer Network members are entitled to free telephone and e mail advice about grant funding and we can help prepare applications for a charge which is discounted for members.  

For more details, please call the Farmer Network Office on 01768 868615.

  The Farmer Network Ltd,

The Grasmere Building, Newton Rigg College, Penrith, CA11 0AH


Grant Scheme Application window
Leader Programmes





2 stage application process.  In Cumbria the deadlines for the Expression of Interest (EOI) stage are:

  • Wednesday 29th November 2017
  • Friday 16th February 2018
  • Wednesday 28th March 2018

In the Yorkshire Dales there are no deadlines for EOIs and Full Applications are assessed on a first come first served basis.  The final deadline for EOIs is Sept 2018 for farm productivity grants.

Mid-Tier Stewardship Scheme including water quality grants Speak to your Natural England officer as soon as possible.  In 2017 the deadlines were:

·        31st July deadline for ordering an application pack

·        30th September for submitting the application

High-Tier Stewardship Scheme The deadline in 2017 was the first Friday in May.  Contact your Natural England project officer as soon as possible as applications take time to develop.
Hedgerow and Boundary Stewardship Scheme The deadline for 2017 applications was the last Friday in April and a similar timetable is expected for 2018.  The application window is expected to open in February.


Woodland Creation Grant Scheme Opens 2nd January with a deadline of 28th February 2018.
Countryside Productivity Schemes for Water Resource Management and Forestry Productivity The application period is currently open with a deadline of 3rd April 2018.
Local Enterprise Partnership Rural Development Grants (EAFRD) Applications can be submitted at any time but the final deadline for Expressions of Interest is 1st January 2018.






SCHEME DEADLINES (where known or based on 2017 schemes)
Cumbria Leader Programmes •      Wednesday 29th November 2017

•      Friday 16th February 2018

•      Wednesday 28th March 2018

Yorkshire Dales Leader Programme The final deadline for Expressions of Interest application is Sept 2018 for farm productivity grants.


Local Enterprise Partnership Rural Development Grants 1st January 2018 (final deadline)
Woodland Creation grant 28th February 2018
Countryside Productivity Grants 3rd April 2018
Hedgerow and Boundary Stewardship Scheme Last Friday in April
Higher Level Stewardship First Friday in May
Mid Tier Stewardship including Water Capital Grants 31st July deadline for ordering an application pack

30th September for submitting the application


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