This week farmers, growers, or foresters in England will be able to apply for a portion of £8 million in cash grants for project costs that aim to drive the development and demonstration of solutions that have the potential to substantially improve overall productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability and help the sector mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.
“Journey to net zero” is a phrase you may have seen or heard over recent years, regarding global sustainability targets.
Across the UK, companies are actively working towards a more sustainable future. The agriculture and horticulture sectors face significant challenges, from labour and land shortages to soaring energy costs and ever-looming risks of water shortages. Not to mention the disruption to trade caused by the crippling impact of both the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit. The latter highlights how highly reliant the United Kingdom (UK) is on imports.
To work to net-zero and a more sustainable way of life, innovation has and continues to be a driving force.
Yet, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) statistics published in September 2021 suggest that the number of research and development (R&D) tax claims submitted by UK agriculture companies accounted for only roughly 1.2% of the total R&D tax credit claims.
The key factor for such a small number of claimants is either a lack of knowledge of the incentive or a lack of understanding about the types of projects that may qualify. Examples of projects that could qualify include:
- New technologies to provide integrated and tailored solutions for farms as well as driving digitalisation and sustainability;
- New or improved (more efficient) renewable energy production;
- Reducing carbon emissions or even removing CO2 from the atmosphere;
- Robotic and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven farming;
- Valorisation of biomass waste including agricultural waste;
- Introducing new methodologies to optimise crop yields and the performance of new and existing crop varieties;
- Implementing new strategies for disease mitigation in livestock;
- Intelligent software analysis for pest and disease prediction, soil management, and other analytical tasks;
- Smart irrigation;
- Vertical farming; and
- Development of new machinery and components, or adaption of existing technology.
But are R&D tax credits the only answer? The short answer is no!
In partnership with UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), a new long-term funding programme to support farmers, growers, foresters, and other businesses launched in October 2021. The Farming Innovation Programme supports ambitious projects to transform productivity and enhance environmental sustainability in England’s agricultural and horticultural sectors, whilst driving the sectors towards net zero. The programme is split into three funds:
Industry-led R&D Partnerships Fund
Farming Futures R&D Fund
Projects to Accelerate Adoption Fund
Expected to open 30th March 2022, it will be open to bids to drive the development and demonstration of solutions that have the potential to substantially improve overall productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability, as well as help the sector mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.
Estimated to open Summer 2022, the fund is available for strategic projects aimed at tackling climate change by reducing the environmental impact of farming.
Launching later in 2022 to support farmer-led projects to trial the viability of new innovations in farming.
Some research and innovation activities may also be eligible for funding under Cluster 6 of the European Commission’s Horizon Europe programme of the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund.
Grow your business with CTI
Our CTI International team, based in the UK, can answer any of your questions about your R&D tax relief claims or grant funding. Contact us today.