Scottish Government launches Sustainable Agriculture Capital Grant Scheme

Hamish Logan

The Scottish Government has launched a Sustainable Agriculture Capital Grant Scheme (SACGS) with the stated aim of protecting and improving the natural environment, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting sustainable farming and land use.

The grant forms part of the Agricultural Transformation Programme announced in February which allocated £40 million of initial funding to support the sector’s contribution to meeting Scotland’s climate change ambitions.

The £10m funding scheme will allow farmers to purchase specific equipment up to a total value of £20,000 per farming business from a pre-determined list through the Rural Payments and Services Division who will be managing the applications.

Hamish Logan, Savills food and farming consultant, said: “The initiative will be a boost to farmers who are keen to harness new technologies in order to farm more efficiently and sustainably. The list of items eligible for financial support is extensive but specific and includes items for livestock, precision and general farming for example technology to pre heat water for existing hot water systems, to analyse milk in real time and to measure nitrogen levels in crops. Depending on the take-up among farmers, the scheme has the potential to significantly modernise Scottish farming techniques.”

The SACGS grant scheme will provide farmers with funding of 50% (60% in Highlands and Islands) of the item. Each piece of equipment claimed for will be allocated a certain number of “green points” and these will be scored against other applications to determine how much greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

If the business has completed a carbon audit and/or a nutrient management plan, and/or a veterinary health plan before 1st March 2020 but after 1st March 2017, this will provide bonus “green points” to the application. If positive action has been taken from these reports, further bonus points may be offered.

Businesses will need to apply through an electronic form and there will be no requirement to submit estimates with the application.

However, once the grant has been approved, copies of invoices and bank statements will be required to be submitted with the capital claim form, along with any carbon audits, nutrient management plans or veterinary health plans that have been completed.

Applications for this scheme opened on September 7.

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