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New Appointments Strengthen Ongoing Agricultural Support

With the Scottish Government Rural Payments & Inspections Directorate (SGRPID) having announced that the first Regional Proposal Assessment Committees (RPAC) of 2011 will be in February next year....

With the Scottish Government Rural Payments & Inspections Directorate (SGRPID) having announced that the first Regional Proposal Assessment Committees (RPAC) of 2011 will be in February next year, with a planned submission date of 8 November 2010 for capital, renewable, access and community based applications, now is the time to consider your funding application if you've not already done so.

We are delighted to have strengthened our dedicated team of agri-business consultants with new appointments in Elgin and Ayr to support the increased activity we've been experiencing in this sector.

Joining the firm's existing team in Elgin, Gordon McConachie will advise clients on all matters relating to agricultural and rural grant schemes and in particular the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) and likewise Andy Morrison has been appointed in the firm's Ayr office.

Our consultants are involved in a wide variety of projects including agri environment projects, capital investments, renewables and forestry, covering everything from small scale to larger investments for all types of rural businesses.

Gordon brings with him almost 20 years of experience in this sector, having previously been with the Scottish Government Rural Payments & Inspections Directorate (SGRPID) in Inverurie and most recently completing a two year secondment with the Cairngorms National Park Authority in Grantown-on-Spey, specifically responsible for SRDP grant matters. During this time almost 11m of funding was secured for a range of businesses within the Park. 

Gordon still retains an interest in the 1800 hectare family farm just outside Grantown where a successful pedigree herd of Highland cattle is kept.

Gordon said: "Now, more than ever, it is essential to apply for funding for projects that will improve the long term viability of land based businesses. Having experience of the types of projects that work and can be funded under SRDP will allow me to help farmers target projects and provide them with a greater chance of a successful application. 

Given the hugely competitive nature of current agricultural grant funding schemes, this year's uncertain commodity prices and the general economic downturn, it is more important than ever to get professional advice to optimise the potential from this increasingly important income source. Whether it is a new farm building, a renewable energy project or hedge planting, using a consultant who has this experience will pay dividends."

Commenting on his new appointment, Andy said: "I agree with Gordon that the current scheme is highly competitive and that although we can produce applications we cannot allow for changes in the accepted expenditure such as recent changes to maximum funding for business cases. 

"The SRDP scheme is very broad based and yet specific at the same time. If you are considering an application, starting early provides time to consider the implications to your business. For example committing to agri-environment schemes which could give some income for five years, or perhaps considering old buildings that could be made useable again. It is imperative however, particularly for projects of this nature, to take into account the associated costs involved. The view is taken as to the benefit to the public from money invested. There are national targets which take some priority but there has been funding for other schemes as well."

>For advice on future funding deadlines and applications for 2011 please get in touch with Gordon McConachie on 01343 546362 / gordon.mcconachie@ckdgalbraith.co.uk or Andy Morrison on 01292  268181 / andy.morrison@ckdgalbraith.co.uk.