FARMING, forestry and horticultural businesses have until April 4 to apply for grants of up to £35,000 to help them become more efficient at using resources.

The Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS), part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), aims to make businesses more profitable and resilient while reducing the impact of farming on the environment.

“There is a small window of opportunity for farmers and woodland owners to make significant gains with grants towards the capital costs of equipment and materials” says rural expert Helen Lancaster, of Carter Jonas, Kendal.

“Round three of the FFIS launched a few weeks ago and we expect awards of around £10m of grants to be made.

“The selection process for FFIS is competitive. The round will close on April 4 and applications received after this date will not be processed. However, unlike previous rounds, applications will be processed as soon as they arrive. We strongly advise people to apply as soon as possible."

The maximum grant per business for FFIS Round 3 is now £35,000 and the minimum grant is £2,500.

Applicants who have received grant funding in previous FFIS rounds are eligible to apply and can apply for the full £35,000. However, in the event that the round is oversubscribed, priority will be given to applicants that have not previously been awarded grant.