New Entrants and Young Farmers Start-Up Grant Schemes: evaluation
The evaluation of New Entrants and Young Farmers Start-Up Grant Schemes has been published on the Scottish Government website - you can read the full document here.
The document discusses the challenge of generational renewal in the farming sector and analyses how the grants helped to encourage new, younger entrants to the industry.
The Young Farmers Start-Up Grant Scheme and the New Entrants Start-Up Grant Scheme provided eligible applicants with grants of up to €70,000 and €15,000 respectively.The intention has been to support new entrants into the industry. The Young Farmers Start-Up Grant Scheme had a budget of £10.8 million, or €13.0 million and has delivered 205 grants. The New Entrants Start-Up Grant had a budget of £0.8 million, or €0.9 million, and delivered 49 grants. The fourth and final round of applications closed in September 2017, followed by the confirmed closure of the schemes in 2018.
Were the Schemes Successful?
The schemes successfully supported 254 entrants into agriculture, which fulfils the New Entrants Start-Up Grant scheme goal of increasing the number of entrepreneurs who farm. However, it is less clear whether or not the schemes were successful in achieving the Young Farmers Start-Up Grant Scheme's goal of encouraging a new younger generation of farmers. While 205 of the 254 grants awarded were Young Farmer's Start Up Grants, and so it can be said that the scheme was successful in encouraging younger people to begin farming, the extent to which this constitutes a new generation of farmers and therefore a shift in the age composition of the industry is limited. This is simply a matter of scale. While 254 grants were awarded, there are 50,231 holdings in Scotland and approximately 20,000 farm businesses.It is therefore difficult to argue that the overall age profile of farmers has shifted as a result of these schemes. It is important to note, however, that the schemes closed early due to the exhaustion of funds. The schemes were therefore popular amongst those interested in entering the farming sector and had further potential to encourage more new entrants had the funds not been exhausted.
You can read the full evaluation here: Supporting documents - New Entrants and Young Farmers Start-Up Grant Schemes: evaluation - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)