The fruits of Agricultural R&D
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of innovation in the agricultural sector. As arguably the oldest and single most important industry in human history, agriculture is a field that moves fast and often under immense pressure. With issues from sustainability to outright food poverty continuing to come into clear focus around the world, agricultural innovation has never been more crucial – or valuable.
The opportunities for innovative ideas and businesses to thrive are very real, but they depend on a deep understanding of what research and development actually means. Even now, with recognition growing of the huge rewards R&D work can offer, far too many agricultural innovators are missing out. Some simply never realise that R&D tax relief exists, or that it applies to what they do. Others lack the expertise and confidence to make a full and effective claim. Either way, UK agriculture accounts for under 0.5% of R&D Tax Credits claims, and those missed opportunities are costing British firms an estimated £52,000 each per year.
Sowing the seeds
RIFT R&D has always been a passionate supporter of UK agriculture. A large part of that work, naturally, comes in the form of preparing and submitting R&D Tax Credits claims for innovative businesses in the sector. Beyond that, we work hard to keep up to date with developments in agriculture, forging links with the community and spreading the word about R&D tax relief. As a supporter of networking organisation NextGen Fruit Group, for example, we’ve seen first-hand what can be accomplished when the agriculture sector thinks and acts collectively and with a focus on the future. NextGen, true to its name, works to nurture the agricultural innovators of tomorrow, bringing the industry together through online communities and an impressive schedule of events. RIFT R&D Business Liaison Manager, Norma Thomas, was recently delighted to have the opportunity to visit Tanmere Airfield Nurseries Ltd while attending a recent NextGen show, seeing up-close how their innovation and investment in new processes and technologies are driving efficiency, sustainability and quality in the world of sweet bell peppers. RIFT R&D also sponsored freelance broadcaster Tom Heap, special guest at the 89th National Fruit Show in Maidstone. At the show, Norma met Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex and Forfar, Sophie Windsor, noting how encouraging it is to see such high-profile guests throwing the spotlight on agricultural innovation.
Reaping the rewards
So, what’s the value of agricultural R&D in real terms? Let’s look at a few examples of innovative UK businesses getting the credit their innovations earn them.
- Biddenden Vineyards Ltd
Biddenden Vineyards is Kent’s original vineyard, spanning 23 acres and producing 12 varieties of grape. The business set out to protect their crops from the pressures of climate change, adverse weather conditions, disease and the shortage of expert labour. In doing so, they conducted extensive monitoring of the vines and explored ways to protect the crucial leaves. In handling their claim, RIFT R&D was also able to identify another project of theirs that would qualify for tax relief, a cider with a unique method of production. All told, Biddenden Vineyards’ R&D Tax Credits claim resulted in over £100k in qualifying expenditure.
- Re-Generation Earth
A catalyst and conduit for people and businesses working to address the climate crisis, Re-Generation Earth developed a range of methods for working toward net-zero UK carbon emissions by 2050. As part of this effort, the organisation sought to implant fast-growing, hardy Paulownia trees in a test site to understand their behaviour, optimise their growth and test their suitability for timber and carbon sequestration. All told, 1,500 trees were planted and monitored, with the project tackling obstacles ranging from pests to crop failure. RIFT R&D handled the tax relief paperwork, working closely with Re-Generation’s technical teams, resulting in over £30k worth of qualifying expenditure.
Ensuring your innovations always bear fruit
If you're breaking through barriers, pushing back boundaries and solving problems within your sector, get in touch to discuss how R&D tax relief can unlock the rewards of your most innovative ideas - Get In Touch | Contact Us | RIFT R&D (riftresearch.com)
Meanwhile, see here for more on how R&D is reshaping the agriculture sector – and how creative businesses can make the most of the R&D Tax Credits system:
- Boost for farming innovation - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- NextGen Fruit Group
- R&D BUS: PGA - Total intramural R&D - Agriculture, hunting and forestry; Fishing - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)