Skip the NI Direct Bar
Skip navigation

Gildernew outlines Farm Modernisation Tranche Two criteria

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has today announced the criteria for Tranche Two of the Farm Modernisation Scheme.

Explaining her rationale, the Minister said: “In today’s difficult economic circumstances Tranche 2 of the Farm Modernisation programme is an opportunity for me to target disadvantage. I wish to help smaller farm businesses working in challenging conditions on the hills, to modernise their farms, become more competitive, and make a better living.

“That is why the scoring system in this programme, which will select between applications, focuses on the Severely Disadvantaged and Disadvantaged Areas, as well as on the degree of modernisation sought, and, of course, young farmers.”

The Minister added: "Those Businesses in the Severely Disadvantaged Areas will receive the highest score of 35, followed by an award of 25 marks for farmers in the Disadvantaged Areas, and a score of 10 for farmers in the Lowland. For the important criterion of modernisation it is expected that there will be three scoring bands.

The top band will be awarded 40 marks, 30 marks for items in the middle band and 20 marks for those items which are considered to be the least modernising. Young farmers involved in the farm business will score 15 marks, and 5 marks will be awarded for on-line applications, by way of promoting technology, and also for farmers' convenience."

Turning to the merits of the Farm Modernisation Programme, the Minister outlined the objectives of the programme. She said: “My aim remains to ensure that those businesses on the margins of viability can better access the programme, and modernise. Farmers in the Less Favoured Areas, face permanent hardship as a result of the poor agricultural conditions they face.

“The emphasis on young farmers within this tranche is also something that I particularly want to see. I firmly believe that this is a good way to encourage young people to continue to have a career in the Industry. Special focus on those below forty years old within this Programme will go some way towards that.”

The Minister also outlined how the criteria will work in practice. She said: “Firstly, I have reduced the maximum level of grant to £4k to allow more farmers to benefit and the minimum level will now be £500. In relation to the three scoring bands for modernisation my officials are currently considering what additional items should be on this list and will consult with stakeholders on final items and band selection.

"The Scheme will be open in the spring of this year and I hope to announce a date for this in the next few weeks. Applications will be accepted by post, by hand and by email over a period of 6 weeks.”

Notes to editors:

1.

Background

The scoring system for Tranche 2 will be as follow:-

Land Classification

SDA areas - 35

DA areas - 25

Lowland areas - 10

Degree of Modernisation

Top Band - 40

Middle Band - 30

Lower Band - 20

Young Farmer

- 15

E-Communication

- 5

2. There is approximately £7m available in Tranche 2. It will open for applications in the spring for a six week period. Applications will be accepted by post, email and online. Details of this will follow over the next few weeks.

3. All media queries should be directed to the DARD Press office on 028 9052 4619. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.