A further £10 million is being made available to cattle farmers in England to help them replace ageing cattle buildings with state-of-the-art facilities, Defra has announced today (Wednesday 26 July).
As set out in guidance published today, the Animal Health and Welfare Infrastructure Grant will allocate awards to farmers ranging from £15,000 to £500,000, prioritising new and upgraded calf housing which will improve conditions for livestock and help to boost farmers’ productivity and profitability.
Through this grant, cattle farmers will also be able to access funding for roof-top solar panels on calf housing buildings, fulfilling a key commitment made by the Prime Minister at the Farm to Fork Summit earlier this year. This will enable farmers to improve the thermal insulation of their building whilst providing low-cost energy for calf housing.
The government has also announced that more than £19 million has been awarded to over 3,000 pig, poultry, sheep and cattle farmers who successfully applied to the first round of the Animal Health and Welfare Equipment and Technology Grant. These grants, of between £1,000 and £25,000, will help farmers with items ranging from livestock handling equipment to reduce lameness in sheep or cattle or sealed water tanks to reduce disease transmission in outdoor pigs, to automated monitoring system and sensors which free-up farmers’ time and limit environmental stress in poultry housing.
Both grants form part of the government’s wider Animal Health and Welfare Pathway, which supports farmers to transition to higher welfare practices and systems, whilst encouraging sustainable food production.
They are part of the government’s wider investment of £2.4 billion per year in farming in England for the rest of this Parliament. This includes support for farmers through our new farming schemes, with an expanded and improved Sustainable Farming Incentive 2023 offer announced last month, as well as one-off grants which are helping farmers invest in new technology and equipment that will help them be more productive.
Farming Minister Mark Spencer said:
Our animal health and welfare grants are helping farmers improve conditions for their livestock. Not only is that good for the animals, it’s also a way to improve productivity and help them be more profitable.
It’s great to see such enthusiasm for these grants, with over 3,000 farmers receiving money through the Equipment and Technology Grant from today, and many more set to benefit with our investment in new and upgraded calf housing through our brand new Infrastructure Grant.
The Animal Health and Welfare Infrastructure Grant will prioritise co-funding new and upgraded calf housing in order to promote better social contact and create a healthier environment for livestock. Successful applicants could receive funding for a variety of building types – for example, the construction of A-frame buildings to house dairy calves from birth to weaning, or a mono-pitch building on a beef unit to house calves between 3-6 months.
Improved cattle housing will not only ensure calves are healthier, more resilient and more productive, but will also ensure that farm buildings are able to adapt to the demands of our changing climate. These infrastructure improvements, which are more effective at reducing the risk of disease and calf mortality, will also mean that farmers see a benefit to their bottom line.
In 2023 alone, government is making more than £168 million in grants available to farmers to drive innovation, support food production, improve animal health and welfare and protect the environment. These grants, alongside the government’s new flexible and accessible farming schemes, will ensure that farmers remain at the heart of the rural economy and putting food on our tables.
Animal Health and Welfare Infrastructure Grant
- The guidance for a new infrastructure grant to support cattle farmers to further improve the health and welfare of their animals has been published today, with the grant scheme opening for applications later this summer.
- The grant will enable farmers in England to access funding, ranging from £15,000 to £500,000, to co-finance cattle infrastructure projects.
- This new funding pot further expands the range of grants already on offer through the Farming Transformation Fund, which currently includes support for improvements to slurry, water management and productivity.
- Defra will be extending this infrastructure grant to other livestock sectors, with forthcoming funding available for pig and poultry farmers.
Animal Health and Welfare Equipment and Technology Grant
- Defra has announced today that more than £19 million worth of grant funding is to be awarded to over 3,000 farmers who successfully applied to the first round of the Animal Health and Welfare Equipment and Technology Grant.
- All of the available items were selected through a collaborative co-design process involving industry professionals, veterinarians, and academics – all contributing significantly to welfare, productivity, and biosecurity.
- These improvements will not only enhance animal welfare but also contribute to broader productivity and environmental benefits, furthering our commitment to achieving the UK’s Net Zero carbon emissions goals.
- The Rural Payment Agency is currently writing to all successful applicants so they can start the process of purchasing their new equipment.