Poultry producers will be among those eligible to benefit from a new a GBP20 million (US$11.4 million) fund launched by the UK’s Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs to help rural businesses increase profits and reduce their impact on the environment.

Producers can apply for grants of up to GBP25,000 to invest in green projects and new machinery so their businesses can grow in an environmentally friendly way. The Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme will fund new profit-boosting green schemes that, among other things, save energy and reduce carbon emissions, improve animal health and welfare and save and recycle water.

Funds will be allocated between now and December 2013. Grants will cover a maximum of half of the total cost of projects in uplands areas and at most 40% of the total cost of projects in non-upland areas.

Agriculture Minister Jim Paice commented: “Growing our economy goes hand-in-hand with protecting and improving our environment. We want rural businesses to thrive and this new fund will help farmers, foresters and horticulturalists to boost their profits and use greener and more efficient ways of working.”