The Agriculture Development Scheme (ADS) is a non capital grant scheme designed to help farmers and growers in England improve their competitiveness through better marketing. It has been used to help address specific problems identified in the industry. The first round had as a priority those sectors in economic difficulty that did not benefit from the September 1999 aid package (primarily pigs). The second round was a bridging measure pending the introduction of the England Rural Development Programme. Grant is available to support non capital costs, including salaries and overheads. In the first two rounds, the scheme was open to industry bodies and organisations and partnerships of producers or companies but not to individual producers or companies.
Projects were expected to bring significant, lasting benefits to primary producers in the agricultural and horticultural industries. Under both bidding rounds, projects were sought which would: address the competitiveness needs of sectors in economic difficulty, introduce better business practices and related training, increase levels of or improve collaborative marketing, training farmers and growers, particularly in the operation of the supply chain, pursue broad or strategic aims on regional and speciality foods or prepare for future activities under the England Rural Development Programme.