Farm diversification funding
The Executive is to provide over £370,000 to 36 farm diversification projects.
These awards have been made to farming families under the Farm Business Development Scheme (FBDS) to set up new or to expand existing diversified businesses.
In announcing the latest round of funding awards, Rural Development Minister Ross Finnie said: ‘The Scottish Executive is committed to increasing the prosperity and quality of life in rural Scotland and maintaining strong prosperous and growing rural communities.
‘Having visited several of the diversification projects approved in earlier rounds, I have witnessed at first hand the positive benefits the Scheme can bring to the rural economy and individual farming families.
‘To date over 600 businesses have received support from FBDS. This has helped to create and maintain jobs in some of the most rural areas of Scotland. Eights jobs alone have been created through the establishment of a farmshop and restaurant on Mr & Mrs Niven’s farm at Gloagburn in Perthshire.
‘I hope that many more businesses will benefit from the Scheme over the remaining two years of its life.’
FBDS is an innovative business development scheme for farmers and their immediate families operating across Lowland Scotland, covering the area from East Moray in the north to Dumfries and Galloway in the south.
Farmers in the Highlands and Islands Special Transitional Programme(H&ISTP) area who have been actively engaged in agriculture for a two year period may be eligible to apply for grant assistance under the Agricultural Business Development Scheme (ABDS).
FBDS was launched in July 2001. It is a discretionary and competitive scheme which provides variable grant assistance of up to 50 per cent of eligible costs for farming families wishing to diversify either within or outwith agriculture.
Five locally based Project Assessment Committees (PACs) assess applications. The PACs are chaired by the Scottish Executive and consist of representatives from partner organisations including local authorities, local enterprise companies, Scottish Natural Heritage and local tourist board representatives. This ensures that projects are in line with local strategies and can meet local priorities. Industry interests are represented by the National Farmers’ Union of Scotland (NFUS) and the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association (SRPBA), who send representatives to observe PAC meetings.
There are a wide variety of measures eligible for FBDS grant. These range from projects in alternative agriculture, such as the growing of non-traditional crops, to providing rural services such as agricultural contracting, construction services, forestry services and boarding kennels, through to improving facilities for tourists and bringing redundant farm buildings into use for purposes such as quality tourist accommodation.
There are five local PACs covering Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders, East South (Forth Valley, Angus, Perth and Kinross, Fife, Lothians), East North (the areas around Aberdeen), and West (Clyde Valley and Ayrshire). The Scheme is delivered locally by six Area Project Officers – one for each of the PACs, except East South where there are two because of the size of the area.
Source: Scottish Executive