Applying for the Calf Housing for Health and Welfare Grant: What You Need to Know

These grants are designed to support cattle farmers in constructing new facilities or upgrading existing ones to provide improved housing for calves, with the goal of enhancing calf health and welfare—an integral aspect of cattle farming.

Are you a cattle farmer in England looking to improve calf health and welfare? The Calf Housing for Health and Welfare grant could be your solution. In this article, we’ll guide you through the key details of this grant program, from its purpose and eligibility criteria to the application process and funding options.

What the Grants Are For

The Calf Housing for Health and Welfare grant aims to support cattle farmers in building new structures or upgrading existing ones to provide better housing for calves. These improvements should lead to enhanced health and welfare outcomes for calves, a critical aspect of cattle farming.

For the purposes of this grant, a ‘calf’ is defined as domestic cattle up to 6 months old. To be considered for grant funding, your calf housing project must meet specific requirements, including creating a suitable ambient environment that ensures good air quality, temperature, and humidity. The project should also promote social contact through pair or group housing.

A successful project under this grant program should achieve the following objectives:

  • Improve calf health and welfare.
  • Enhance environmental sustainability.
  • Introduce innovation that benefits calf housing.

If your project aligns with these priorities, it has a higher likelihood of being accepted. It’s essential to thoroughly review the grant specifications and application guidelines before applying. The application period for this grant opened on September 6, 2023, and closes at 11.59pm on November 30, 2023.

These grants are administered by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as part of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway.

Who Can Apply

Cattle farmers carrying out farming activities, including calf rearing, with 11 or more cattle in England are eligible to apply for this grant. You must either own the land where you plan to build or upgrade calf housing or have a tenancy agreement for the land that extends at least 5 years beyond the project’s completion date. If your current agreement is set to end before that period but is expected to continue, you can still apply.

Funds from the Calf Housing for Health and Welfare grant must be used exclusively for England-based business operations and should not cross-subsidise any related or linked businesses in Northern Ireland.

Who Cannot Apply

The following groups are not eligible for this grant:

  • New or start-up farming businesses (with or without cattle).
  • Existing farm businesses with 10 cattle or fewer.
  • Public organizations, including Crown bodies and non-departmental public bodies.
  • Local authorities

How the Application Process Works

The application process for the Calf Housing for Health and Welfare grant involves three stages. Your application will be evaluated based on funding priorities, and if it meets the criteria, you will be offered a Grant Funding Agreement (GFA). For further information and guidance on applying for this grant, please do not hesitate to reach out to your contact at Bush & Co.

Vet Consultation

Before applying, you must discuss your project with a vet and provide a letter of confirmation along with your application. One option is to apply for an Annual Health and Welfare Review, available through Defra’s Animal Health and Welfare Pathway. This review includes a fully funded visit by a vet who offers tailored advice on animal health and welfare and conducts tests for key diseases and conditions.

How Much Money You Can Apply For

The grant offers a minimum of £15,000 (40% of £37,500) and a maximum of £500,000 per applicant business. Grants can cover up to 40% of eligible project costs. If you plan to include rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems as part of your project, funding for these is limited to 25% of eligible costs. Rooftop solar PV systems should be installed on the funded calf housing building and contribute to environmental sustainability.

When You Can Claim Payment

You can make up to three claims over the course of your project, but it’s crucial not to start any work, commit to costs, enter legal contracts, or place orders until your project’s start date, as specified in your GFA. If you incur project costs before this date, your application may become ineligible.

For items purchased through lease purchase or hire purchase, you must own them outright before claiming any grant money towards them.

In conclusion, the Calf Housing for Health and Welfare grant presents a valuable opportunity for cattle farmers in England to improve calf health and welfare while enhancing environmental sustainability. If existing buildings are in need of an upgrade, then this grant funding is worth looking in to.

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