Launch of grants is hailed a success

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AN event in Robin Hood’s Bay to launch a range of grants available to farmers in the area has been hailed a success.

Over 20 farmers from Robin Hood’s Bay, Fylingthorpe and the Fylingdales area crammed into the Victoria Hotel to see how their businesses could benefit from the help being offered by various agencies.

It was organised by the CRC Farming and Rural Business Project and for the first time the grants are being made available to this area after having previously been taken up by farms further up the coast around the Mulgrave area and Staithes.

Four speakers attended the event on Tuesday outlining how the grants worked and how to apply.

Jonathan Payne from Natural England spoke about the Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) grant which is primarily aimed at helping farms reduce the amount of pollution in watercourses.

Farms can bid for up to £10,000 of funding to cover 50% of the cost of projects.

CSF also hosts workshops and advice sessions and previous ones in Staithes have looked at slurry and manure handling, soil and grassland management, animal health and cattle and machinery tracks.

My Payne told the meeting: “We have been going three years to the north of Whitby, I am very pleased that we have been able to bring in the Robin Hood’s Bay area – Ravenscar, the Flask, and Hawsker.

“We are looking for best quality applications to make our money go as far as we can so seek support.

“We are particularly interested in applications that reduce the volumes of slurry and muck you have to handle.

“Clean water that mixes with dirty water means we have got a big problem that we need to deal with.

“Anything that reduces clean and dirty water coming into contact is what we want to see.”

Three of the most popular schemes that have been applied for are to roof livestock gathering areas and to create livestock and machinery tracks and cross drains.

Applications can be made between the 1 March and 30 April.

The Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS) was outlined by David Reece giving farmers the opportunity to look at the health and welfare of animals, energy useage, water resource management, management of manures and soil nutrients and forestry resources.

The Rural Development programme for England has made £20 million available for such projects but £9 million has already been bid for with round one of applications.

Not all applications are expected to be successful and the second round of bids is expected to open in May.

There are also six types of grants available under the Forestry Commission’s woodland grant scheme – woodland planning, assessment grant, improvement, regeneration, management and creation.

While the budget has been set for 2011/2012 projects farm businesses are advised to start submitting bids for 2012/2013.

Robert Smith, from agents Richardson and Smith, who also chaired the meeting, said: “It was pretty well received and I can see there is a bit of synergy.

“There may well be a little bit of business to be had.

“But it is important for the farming fraternity to recognise what grants are available and how to apply for them.

“It has been a very successful evening and sets itself up nicely for the following events.”

Further events about the grants available are being held at the Grapes at Scaling Dam on Tuesday, Cedar Barn at Pickering on Wednesday and Sneaton Castle on Tuesday 6 March.

Registration for all three events is at 6.45pm.