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Farmers Weekly: Biomass funding for Northern Irish farmers


Farmers and growers in Northern Ireland are invited to apply for government funding towards on-farm biomass projects.


The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Biomass Processing Challenge Fund is open for a second round of applications - the closing date is 4pm on Friday 30 November.


Applications for the fund, which aims to encourage agricultural and forestry businesses to install biomass-fuelled technologies to aid agricultural related activities, are welcome from individual farmers as well as groups of farmers.


Farmers can receive up to 40% grant funding for the capital costs of the project, not exceeding €400,000.


Eligible technologies include heat boilers over 30kW thermal output, combined heat and power (CHP) systems, anaerobic digestion systems and other proven technologies using biomass for the generation of heat and or electricity.


The projects must use sustainably sourced agricultural and forestry biomass materials such as purpose-grown crops and agricultural residues like livestock manure and poultry litter.

"The production of food will always remain the primary focus of the agricultural sector.However, the diversified income streams and avoided energy costs associated with renewable energy projects can only be of benefit," said Northern Irish agriculture minister Michelle O'Neill.


"I want to see sustainable farm-based AD projects proposed. These should utilise the available resources of the farm efficiently and can produce energy for farm use. I want to see a focus on supporting existing farming activities."