DERRYLIN farmer Liam Maguire, 35, was delighted with the financial support received last year through the Farm Modernisation Programme, FMP.
With a third tranche of the FMP now open for applications until 4pm on Friday, October 19, Liam suggests more farmers seek similar help in taking their farm businesses forward.
Running a suckler herd as his main enterprise, Liam knows all too well how difficult it can be to fund the modern equipment needed to make a farm more efficient and the workload easier.
"Farming in Fermanagh always has its challenges, but this past wet summer has really put the pressure on so having access to more modern equipment, thanks to the FMP, has been a real boon.
"For example, our new big bale grab has been a great aid over the past months in quickly and safely handling big bales of silage and straw." As Liam wryly notes, farming in Fermanagh one is rarely short of rain, grass or rushes so the FMP grant on an offset grass topper has helped improved sward management.
The young Fermanagh farmer also used the FMP funding to help cover the costs of installing a vermin proof 7.5 tonne bulk feed bin to reduce waste, improved hygiene and help keep compound costs under control. An FMP grant on a calving gate with deadlock head yoke and side containment gate has reduced the risk of injury during difficult calvings.
The final item acquired was perforated rubber slat mats to enhance the welfare, comfort and health of suckler cows.
Liam commented that, "The just re-opened Farm Modernisation Programme is an opportunity to take a farm forward with a grant of up to �4,000 and is an offer not to be missed." This tranche sees a focus on succession opportunity and encouraging younger farmers to invest in modernising their farm business. Marks will be awarded if a current registered member of the farm business making the application was under 40 years of age on 31 January 2012 Dr Andrew Kerr from Countryside Services Ltd noted, "It is important that those considering applying for a financial support first carefully read the FMP Tranche 3 Explanatory Booklet, which sets out the requirements of the Programme and details the items. If farmers have any queries regarding the Farm Modernisation Programme Tranche 3 or need assistance accessing the online application system we have staff ready to assist on the Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership Helpline tel: 0845 0267 535." "Farmers should note that only one application can be submitted per farm business. Applications can be made online via www.eugrants.org or hard copy application forms posted or handed into Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership or selected DARD offices. The maximum level of financial support available under the Programme is �4,000 with the minimum level of support �500.�" The Farm Modernisation Programme is funded by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) as part of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2007-2013.