UK Government Increases Funding for Livestock Health and Welfare

The UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced an additional £10 million in funding for cattle farmers in England. This initiative aims to modernize outdated cattle facilities with cutting-edge infrastructure. The Animal Health and Welfare Infrastructure Grant will provide financial awards ranging from £15,000 to £500,000, with a focus on enhancing and constructing new calf housing to improve livestock conditions and elevate farmers’ productivity and profitability.

Additionally, the grant will support the installation of rooftop solar panels on calf housing structures. This move aligns with the Prime Minister’s commitment made at the Farm to Fork Summit earlier this year, enabling farmers to both insulate their buildings better and generate low-cost energy.

In related news, Defra has also allocated over £19 million to more than 3,000 farmers across various livestock sectors through the first round of the Animal Health and Welfare Equipment and Technology Grant. These grants, ranging from £1,000 to £25,000, will assist farmers in acquiring equipment and technology that enhances animal welfare and reduces environmental stress, among other benefits.

Both of these grants are part of the government’s broader Animal Health and Welfare Pathway, aimed at aiding farmers in adopting higher welfare practices and promoting sustainable food production. They also contribute to the government’s annual investment of £2.4 billion in England’s farming sector, which includes various new and improved farming schemes.

Farming Minister Mark Spencer commented, “These grants are instrumental in improving livestock conditions, thereby boosting productivity and profitability for farmers. The enthusiastic response from over 3,000 farmers receiving the Equipment and Technology Grant is encouraging, and we anticipate similar success with our new Infrastructure Grant.”

The Infrastructure Grant will co-finance various types of new and upgraded calf housing, promoting social interaction and a healthier environment for livestock. These improvements will not only make calves more resilient and productive but also enable farm buildings to adapt to climate change challenges.

For 2023 alone, the government plans to make over £168 million in grants available to farmers. These funds aim to foster innovation, enhance animal health and welfare, and protect the environment, ensuring that farmers continue to play a central role in the rural economy.

Additional Details on the Grants

Animal Health and Welfare Infrastructure Grant

  • The grant will co-finance cattle infrastructure projects, ranging from £15,000 to £500,000.
  • The grant scheme will open for applications later this summer.
  • Defra plans to extend this grant to other livestock sectors, including pigs and poultry.

Animal Health and Welfare Equipment and Technology Grant

  • Over £19 million has been awarded to more than 3,000 farmers in the first round.
  • The grant items were chosen through a collaborative process involving industry experts, veterinarians, and academics.
  • The Rural Payment Agency is currently notifying all successful applicants to commence the equipment purchasing process.

LEARN MORE: Calf Housing for Health and Welfare 2023