West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

McDermott welcomes opening of Farm Improvement Scheme

Published: 4 November, 2015

Sinn Féin representative Grace McDermott has called on farmers to engage with the first phase of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme which opens on 9th November. The long-awaited scheme is part of the 'Going For Growth' strategy which has set ambitious targets for the agri-food industry including increasing employment opportunities, investing the future sustainability of the industry and increasing production, sales and exports.

Ms McDermott said,

"In a response to a question to the Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill in the Assembly this week the Minister confirmed that the first phase of the Farm Improvement Scheme will begin on the 9th November.

"The initial phase of the scheme is designed to allow farmers to get support and guidance before applying for grants at the beginning of next year to improve their machinery and farm buildings in order to make their businesses more profitable and efficient.

"The Minister Michelle O' Neill needs to be congratulated for making £250m available for the scheme despite severe pressures on her budget as a result of the Tory cuts on the Executive's block grant.

"This initial phase will allow farmers to experiment with new technologies and avail of training for farm families including a focus on safety so that they can identify their own particular needs.

"I would appeal to farmers to engage with business development groups in order to help identify priorities for their own business in order to maximise opportunities to make them more profitable. Farmers should contact their local DARD direct office for more information on applying."