Farm diversification is one of the cornerstones of any rural development programme. Under LEADER there is money specifically ring fenced for farm families to set-up and grow on farm businesses that can help make their overall farm enterprises more viable. The new business must not be agricultural in nature, though they could involve adding value to farm produce, e.g. food* or energy production.
The main focus of this measure is to create alternative on-farm employment opportunities in non-agricultural activities and services. A growing feature of farming is the increase in the number of farms no longer able to sustain farming families without additional on-farm income supplementation. However, as few as 3% or so of all farms are currently involved in some form of non-agricultural or forestry activity. Agri-tourism is an example of a complementary activity that combines well with farming activity and also can provide many farm families with the opportunity to develop a viable on-farm alternative enterprise.
All non-agricultural enterprise activities undertaken by farm families, in particular, provision of tourism facilities. The type of facilities envisaged would be renovation of farm buildings for tourism purposes, walking, cycling, angling, pony trekking, bird watching etc.
Development of niche tourism and educational services such as arts and crafts, speciality food provision*, open farms etc.
Development of farm shops selling home/locally grown produce and manufactured products.
For capital and other projects promoted by community groups or private individuals, 75% to a maximum grant of up to €150,000 (with the exception of Analysis and Development which is 90% to a max of €30,000) . In exceptional circumstances, and subject to the prior written approval of the Department, grant aid up to €200,000 may be awarded to projects.
Examples of Projects Funded to Date by West Cork Development Partnership include: