New entrants scheme open for business

Two important grant schemes for new farmers are now open and NFU Scotland is urging would-be applicants to check key deadlines to avoid missing out.

An estimated £20 million is to be made available to new entrants through the Start-up Grant and the Capital Grant schemes – both part of the Scottish Government’s Scottish Rural Development Program (SRDP).

Both schemes have eligibility criteria which sets a maximum number of years that applicants can be in charge of the business. The time limits are two years for the Start-up Grant and five years for the Capital Grant. Furthermore, the Start-Up Grant requires the farmer to be under 41 years of age at the time of submitting the application.

Although final details on the scheme have yet to be released, the Union is pointing out to all new entrants that if they plan on making an application to these schemes and are approaching any of these key deadlines, then it recommends that they contact their local SGRIP office or submit an application form to avoid disappointment.

Iain MacKay, who chairs NFU Scotland’s New Generation Group said: “These important schemes for new entrants are now open although important detail and guidance has yet to be agreed and made available.

“However, the eligibility criteria is known and I would urge any new entrant who is approaching any of the deadlines – such as a 41st birthday or the number of years in charge of the business – to press ahead with completing the application forms now and avoid breaching eligibility rules. In the meantime, we will continue to press Scottish Government for more information.’’