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Energy Aid still available for British Growers

Date Added: 27/01/2009

UK arable farmers should make sure they don't miss out on additional Energy Aid support payments worth up to £20 per hectare advises Chris Baldwin, managing director of United Oilseeds.

The Energy Aid payments scheme enables farmers to claim aid on a number of crops which are grown to be used for the production of heat, electricity or transport fuels.

Last year only 1.5 million hectares of the two million available in the EU was allocated. And with a greatly reduced cropping area this winter as a result of last year's late harvest, it is likely that there will once again be plenty of aid still available.

Qualifying growers in England and Wales are eligible to claim for a maximum entitlement of €45/ha minus modulation of 19%. This leaves €36.45/ha available prior to additional first processor fees. In Scotland, reduced modulation at 8.5% leaves €41.17/ha available to the farmer. United Oilseeds' is currently offering its members the chance to sign an energy contract, with the company acting as the first processor. The company has fixed its administration fee at a reduced rate which will leave €22.50/ha available to members in England and Wales, and €27.22 to members in Scotland.

"As a farmer owned company, and in the interest of our trading members, United Oilseeds has set its fee for the scheme at a very competitive rate," explains Mr Baldwin. "Our members can expect to receive approximately £20/ha or the equivalent of £6 per tonne of winter sown oilseed rape, depending on exchange rate fluctuations.

"This represents a significant bonus for most growers and will certainly help to mitigate some of the rising production costs that are currently being felt by UK arable producers."

All energy crops planted throughout Europe, which include wheat, barley, rapeseed, sugar beet, biomass and potatoes, are eligible to participate in the scheme, although applications must be claimed by individual growers along with their SFP submission by 15th May 2009.

"Last year the scheme's hectarage was undershot by 500,000 hectares. The only downside is that growers cannot save seed from a crop that has been contracted to the Energy Aid scheme. However, it is still a great opportunity for farmers to add a significant figure to their business's bottom line," Mr Baldwin concludes.

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