Details are emerging from DEFRA about future funding opportunities for farmers wishing to invest in slurry management.
As a result, The Farmer Network was overwhelmed with interest from farmers joining an online workshop to find out about the investment required to reduce ammonia emissions from slurry and possible grants to help towards the cost.
More than 85 farmers heard Andy Dyer, farming and conservation officer at Eden Rivers Trust, cover the implications of the Clean Air Act 2019.
He explained that ammonia mixes with particulates in the atmosphere causing health problems and damaging environmentally sensitive sites. Future regulations will include the need to use low emission spreading equipment from 2025 and proposals to cover slurry stores from 2027.
Catchment sensitive farming officer, Susan Kenworthy, covered the new Air Quality grant scheme and the changes to Water Capital grants.
Farmers in Catchment Sensitive Farming areas can now apply for grants to reduce ammonia emissions by installing automatic slurry scrapers, specialist flooring to separate urine from faeces and planting trees close to slurry stores.
She warned farmers that the application period for capital grants has changed. If they want to apply for capital grants outside the Mid-Tier Stewardship Scheme, they need to contact their CSF officer by March 19 and apply by the deadline of April 30.
Susan also covered proposals for a new Slurry Investment Scheme expected in 2022 which should include funding for slurry storage.
This is likely to be a very popular scheme and farmers were urged to start planning for this investment and use the water capital grants to reduce dirty water getting into slurry as much as possible.
Andy Dyer said: “Planning ahead has never been more important for farmers to identify what measures can be put in place now and in the future and to maximise any grants available. This should save money in the long run, ensure compliance with regulations and benefit both the environment and their businesses.”
Veronica Waller of the Farmer Network, who organised the meeting, said: “This is the most popular online meeting we have ever held and shows the level of concern about the cost of investing in slurry storage and handling equipment.
“We will look to organise more meetings on this topic as further details are published about the regulations and the grant schemes.”
You can view the workshop below: