Tony Rimmer, Director of Rostons, recently attended Cheshire East Rural Summit which was organised by Cheshire East Council to look at the issues affecting rural communities.
There were a significant number of attendees including local councillors, Cheshire East employees, CLA, NFU and United Utilities representatives but very few from the farming sector.
Indeed, Tony listened to the opening remarks and after 20 minutes of listening to very eloquent talks about how important the rural economy was but not having heard the mention of farmers once, he felt he had to ask the question how farmers figured in this.
This is particularly relevant when some of the agenda points included a DEFRA presentation on how Pillar 2 money could be accessed and used and also other rural funds such as the Leader process and how Local Enterprise Partnerships would work.
What became very apparent is that the Councils and local Parishes were all aware of the money that would be available under Pillar 2 and were looking at how they could access this. Farmers need to be aware that there is a significant amount of funding that is going to be within the Pillar 2 schemes from 2015 under the new Basic Payment Scheme and start to look at how they can access this funding.
Funding will be available for projects similar to that funded under the recent North West Livestock Initiative, but there will also be funding for other diversification projects provided they give rise to an employment benefit.
If you are considering projects and want to have further advice, then please contact Tony on 01829 773000.