WITH Farming Connect-funded trials ranging from growing grass with rock dust to establishing farm-scale tea bushes on hill land already underway in Wales, farmers are being invited to apply for the next round of funding from the initiative that brought these projects to life.
The new application window for the Try Out Fund opens on October 9th 2023 and will run until October 20th.
Successful applicants will be awarded up to £5,000 to help fund on-farm trials that experiment with new ideas.
The last round of funding saw farmers supported for several projects including growing different cover crops under winter brassicas to identify which types best protect soils from run-off.
Project lead Menna Williams of Farming Connect said the aim is for farmers to compare different treatments or management systems – the project is not intended to fund new equipment she stressed.
“Farming Connect has developed the Try-Out Fund to address specific local problems or opportunities with the aim of improving efficiencies and profitability within agricultural businesses whilst protecting the environment,” she said.
“There are many changes on the horizon for agriculture, and now is a great time for farm businesses to explore an idea that could benefit them, allowing farms to tackle ‘real’ problems or check if a research idea works in practice.”
The fund is open to individuals or groups of up to four farmers and/or growers in Wales who have identified a local or specific problem or opportunity.
“Because these ideas are initiated by farmers themselves, they are really passionate about them, giving them 100% effort right from the start,” said Ms Williams.
Suitable projects must aim to improve production efficiencies and profitability whilst protecting the environment by aligning with sustainable land management outcomes.
A guidance handbook is available on the Farming Connect website to help farmers scope their project and complete the application form.
Applicants must be registered with Farming Connect and be able to complete their projects by January 2025.
“Funding can be used for technical assistance, sampling, testing and other reasonable expenses such as those relating to short term hire of specialist equipment or facilities directly relating to the project,” Ms Williams explained.
The results will be shared with other producers in Wales through working with a dedicated member of the Farming Connect team to produce a short report and other knowledge transfer activities such as events.
The application form can be found on the Farming Connect website, or to receive the link and further information contact email@example.com