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Defra has announced a new £20 million fund to help farmers, foresters and horticulturists to invest in green projects and new machinery so that their businesses can continue to grow in an environmentally friendly way.

The grants, available under the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme, aim to increase profits and encourage greener and more efficient ways of working. They are available for schemes that:

• save energy and reduce carbon emissions
• reduce dependence on artificial fertilizers
• improve soil quality
• save and recycle water

HTA Policy Manager Gary Scroby says "HTA members can apply for match-funding of £2,500-£25,000 to invest in projects that help energy efficiency, water resource management and nutrient management."

The deadline for the first tranche of applications is 17th January 2012. Further details of the scheme can be found in a guidance booklet on the Defra website and interested applicants are invited to contact their local Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) team, details of which can be obtained from the HTA by emailing gary.scroby@the-hta.org.uk
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