Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI): More ways to enhance your income, productivity and the environment!

The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) is a three year agreement and aims to improve the income of a business, enhance productivity and protect the environment.  SFI can provide a steady income as payment will be received every three months providing the actions are complete.  The new DEFRA announcement has shown that the SFI offer will be bigger, more flexible and easier to apply for.  The 23 new actions to choose from cover:

  • Soil health and moorland assessment, to replace the SFI standards we launched last year 
  • Hedgerows 
  • Integrated pest management 
  • Nutrient management 
  • Farmland wildlife on arable and horticultural land, and improved grassland 
  • Buffer strips 
  • Low input grassland.

Some popular options of the SFI are:

  • SAM2 (Multi-Species winter cover crops) – £129 / hectare
  • SAM3 (Herbal Lays) – £382 / hectare
  • IPM2 (Flower-rich grass margins, blocks or in-field strips) – £673 / hectare
  • AHL1 (Pollen and nectar flower mix) –  £614 / hectare
  • AHL2 (Winter bird food on arable and horticultural land) – £732 / hectare
  • IGL3 (4m to 12m grass buffer strip on improved grassland) – £235 / hectare

In addition, DEFRA are offering an annual management payment to cover the cost of signing up and general management.  The management payment is £20 per hectare, for up to 50 hectares of land entered into the scheme to a total of £1,000.  Along with a payment for a yearly vet visit each year to review health and welfare of livestock and the same payment rates for farms in upland and lowland areas.

SFI gives the flexibility to combine as many options as you would like in an agreement with no minimum or maximum land or payment limits.  In addition, this flexibility comes with the option to add more land to the agreement each year and no restrictions on how the options are carried out. This offers farms the flexibility to complete the actions in the most appropriate and efficient way to suit your business.

If your land is entered into a Countryside Stewardship Agreement or Environmental Stewardship agreement you can apply for the SFI at the same time and combine options providing they meet the criteria of each scheme.  In addition, Tenant farmers have the option for a shorter agreement  and do not require Landlord consent.

Those already entered into the 2022 scheme will be able to transfer to the 2023 offer and there will be a controlled roll out from August and DEFRA have asked that those who want to apply should get in touch with the RPA.  If you think you would benefit or need help applying for the Sustainable Farming Incentive please give our offices a call.

Authored by

Sophie Barker


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