NEW government funding will support the sustainability and efficiency of smaller poultry and red meat abattoirs across England.

Smaller abattoirs, a valuable resource for farmers – in particular those supplying farm shops or local butchers – have been closing at a rate of 10% a year, according to research from the Food Standards Agency.

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Defra said the Smaller Abattoir Fund would award capital grants from £2,000 up to a maximum of £60,000 to help support smaller abattoirs across England to improve productivity, enhance animal health and welfare, add value to primary products, and encourage innovation and investment in new technologies.

“It will support the purchase of a diverse range of capital investments, including items such as cold storage units which can expand refrigeration capacity for processing, allowing abattoirs to increase production rates and help remove the waiting times experienced by many farmers for getting stock processed.”

Farming minister Mark Spencer said: “England’s abattoirs are critical to livestock farmers who provide their high-quality products to local butchers and farm shops up and down the country.

Innovate

“This £4 million fund will not only help smaller abattoir and mobile business owners to innovate, invest and improve standards, but it will give farmers, particularly those who produce native and rare breeds, more stability in getting their products to market.”

The application window for the Smaller Abattoir Fund will remain open for nine months, and abattoirs will be able to submit up to three applications up to the maximum funding level of £60,000.

A diverse list of capital investments has been developed in close consultation with industry stakeholders – recognising the bespoke nature of abattoirs, this list is not definitive and additional investments may be eligible if applicants can evidence that the item demonstrates compliance with at least one of the fund’s aims.

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will email all eligible smaller abattoirs directly within the coming days, outlining the application process.