Case Study

FMP makes life simpler for Semples

Drawing down financial support under the previous tranche of the Farm Modernisation Programme (FMP) to help purchase new items of equipment has made routine farm tasks much simpler for Co Londonderry farmer Andrew Semple.

With applications now being accepted for the third round of FMP grants until Oct 19 Andrew has no hesitation in suggesting other farmers should consider applying.

Farming in the foothills of the Sperrins near Dungiven, Andrew, has two main enterprises; sheep and suckler cows.

 “We carefully considered the range of items that were eligible for financial support and opted to use the FMP to help fund five pieces of equipment that are now making farm tasks easier and our business more efficient.

 “Sheep are a time consuming enterprise and turning over a heavy ewe or tup can lead to back problems later in life, hence the decision to invest in a roll over crate. Having a modern lamb weigh bridge allows us to market our lambs at their maximum potential and the sheep clipper trailer is ideal in an area where most folk are farming scattered holdings.

 “A modern livestock trailer was also included in our successful application for a FMP grant and again has made our job easier.

 “The final item supported last year was a weed wiper which we use to control weeds and improve swards in an environmentally friendly way.”

Looking back Andrew has no regrets about investing in extra equipment under the FMP as the paperwork was relatively simple.

“The grant of up to 40% of the eligible purchase costs and up to a maximum payable of £4,000 is very useful in helping move farm businesses forward.

 “Above all, by helping farmers become more efficient and more competitive the FMP is helping them generate a better income, which goes back into the local economy.”

Andrew used the online application process to submit his application, and he found this to be a relatively simple and straightforward process and he would encourage any farm business considering making an application to Tranche 3 to use this route to submit their application, and in doing so the application will attract additional marks.

Farm businesses with a DARD Category 1 Farm Business Identification Number can apply for financial support under Tranche 3 of the Farm Modernisation Programme with farmers planning to make an application advised to carefully consider their modernisation options during the six week application period.

Those with technical queries regarding FMP Tranche 3 items or needing assistance accessing the online application system should contact the Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership Helpline  tel: 0845 0267 535.”

Just a single application can be submitted per farm business and can be made online via www.eugrants.org  Farmers are reminded that additional marks are available for those applying online, with controls built into the system making it more user friendly and easier to navigate. 

Hard copy applications can be posted or handed into Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership or selected DARD offices. The maximum level of financial support available under Tranche 3 is £4,000 with the minimum level of support £500.

The Farm Modernisation Programme is funded by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) as part of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2007-2013.