Governments £168 Million Grant Scheme Welcomed By Veterinary Surgeon Dr Neil Hudson

The only Veterinary Surgeon in the House of Commons, Dr Neil Hudson MP, endorsed the Conservative Government’s £168 million grant schemes aimed at driving innovation in the farming sector, supporting food production, improving animal health and welfare and protecting the environment. 

Announced by Farming Minister, Mark Spencer at the National Farmer’s Union Conference, the grants will drive the development of new technology and innovative ways of farming, with a focus on practical solutions that advance food productivity and deliver significant environmental and animal welfare benefits. 

Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, said: “I’ve always said producing high quality food must go hand-in-hand with environmental and animal welfare improvements, so for this, funding is welcome.

“This is forward-thinking, practical, and proactive policy working for farmers and I’m delighted to be working alongside the Government and local stakeholders to make sure this works.

“As the only vet to be elected to Parliament since the 1800s, I am proud to champion the Government’s commitment to improving animal health and welfare.

“Farmers are a caring bunch and now with funded annual veterinary visits, monies to implement post-visit improvements and innovative tech grants to support animal health and welfare, they can better look after their herds and flocks.

“I very much welcome the announcement on boosting small abattoirs, something I and our EFRA Committee have been calling for repeatedly.”

These could include robotic technology to support with harvesting, handling equipment and cow mattresses to help prevent lameness in dairy cattle, sensors on tractors to measure the levels of nutrients in soils, or improvements to slurry storage – to further the efforts of farmers aiming to minimise their fertiliser use, and in turn reduce water and air pollution. 

The grants, delivered through the Farming Innovation Programme (FIP) and Farming Investment Fund (FIF), will sit alongside the Environmental Land Management schemes which pay farmers for a diverse range of actions such as managing hedgerows for wildlife, planting nectar-rich wildflowers and managing crop pests without the use of insecticides. 

New dedicated funding for annual vet-led health and welfare checks for livestock and money to support farmers implement improvements following these visits has been announced through the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway.

Farmers interested in the vet visit can now register their interest.

Taken together, these schemes and grants will help to deliver long-term sustainable food production and support farmers to halt and reverse the decline of nature as set out in the Environmental Improvement Plan.