Government announces support packages and abattoir funding at NFU conference

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Farming minister, Mark Spencer, used the NFU conference on Tuesday February 21, 2023 to reinforce the £168m in grants available to farmers in order to drive innovation, support food production, improve animal health and welfare and protect the environment. He set out how the grants will drive the development of new technology and innovative ways of farming, with a focus on practical solutions that advance food productivity and deliver significant environmental and animal welfare benefits.

These could include robotic technology to support with harvesting, handling equipment and cow mattresses to help prevent lameness in dairy cattle, sensors on tractors to measure the levels of nutrients in soils, or improvements to slurry storage – to further the efforts of farmers aiming to minimise their fertiliser use, and in turn reduce water and air pollution.

He said that the grants, delivered through the Farming Innovation Programme (FIP) and Farming Investment Fund (FIF), will sit alongside the Environmental Land Management schemes which pay farmers for a diverse range of actions such as managing hedgerows for wildlife, planting nectar-rich wildflowers and managing crop pests without the use of insecticides.

New dedicated funding for annual vet-led health and welfare checks for livestock and money to support farmers implement improvements following these visits has been announced through the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway. Farmers interested in the vet visit can now register their interest.

Taken together, Mr Spencer said that the schemes and grants will help to deliver long-term sustainable food production and support farmers to halt and reverse the decline of nature as set out in the Environmental Improvement Plan. He said: “The role farmers play in putting food on our tables as well as looking after our countryside is crucial. We know that sustainable food production depends on a healthy environment, the two go hand in hand. Helping farms invest in new technology as well as bringing in nature-friendly schemes will support the future of farming.”

The Government has also confirmed it plans to introduce funding to promote enhanced productivity, innovation and improved animal health and welfare in smaller abattoirs.  Mr Spencer said: “If farming is to flourish then we need to get the fundamentals right – abattoirs are key to the food supply chain and there is clearly a need to support smaller providers in this area.

“The availability of funding will help abattoirs to invest in new technology and improve productivity and animal health and welfare, allowing our agriculture sector to get its high-quality produce to market.”


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