DEFRA release details of the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) rollout 2022
With the end of 2021 fast approaching, DEFRA has finally provided details of the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) early rollout, due to occur in Spring 2022.
The proposed rollout is the first element of the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS).
The agreements will last 3 years, with payments made quarterly. There will be no minimum or maximum land areas and applicants will be able to choose the specific land areas included in the agreement. There will also be an element of flexibility to amend the agreement every 12 months – such as including additional land areas or removing land due to ending tenancy agreements.
The scheme is available to existing BPS claimants only and applicants will need to demonstrate that they have management control for at least 2 years.
The SFI 2022 requires applicants to enter land parcels into “standards” being the:
- Arable and horticultural soil standard.
- Improved grassland soil standard.
- Moorland and rough grazing standard.
The first two soil standards will be the focus for most applicants.
These Standards will only have Introductory and Intermediate levels to start with. The payment received is reflective of the level of Standard that is entered into.
A summary of the requirements and the related payments per hectare are summarised in the tables below:
Arable and Horticultural Soil Standard
|Payment||£22 per hectare||£40 per hectare|
|Requirement 1||Soil organic matter tested (within last 5 years)|
|Requirement 2||Soil assessment and production of soil management plan|
|Requirement 3||Winter cover (December to February) in place for 70% of land included in the Standard|
|Any kind of green cover||Must include multi-species green cover over 20% of area included|
|Requirement 4||Apply organic matter to 1/3rd of land included in the Standard|
|Any kind of organic matter||Multi-species green cover grown under the cover crop|
Grassland Soil Standard
|Payment||£28 per hectare||£58 per hectare|
|Requirement 1||Soil organic matter tested (within last 5 years)|
|Requirement 2||Soil assessment and production of soil management plan|
|Requirement 3||95 % Green cover to protect soil (no more than 5% bare ground over winter – December – February)|
|Requirement 4||Establish or maintain herbal leys over at least 15% of land included in Standard|
The advance levels for both these standards are expected to be introduced from 2023. We are aware that the advanced arable and horticultural soil standard will mainly focus on no-till and min-till farming.
Standards and levels have been designed to be simple as possible to encourage implementation on the ground. DEFRA are making it clear that the launch of this SFI is definitely a work in progress, allowing them to make amendments and refine the scheme as time goes on. As time progresses more standards and levels of existing standards will be accessible, with the full range being available from 2025. Capital items will also become available.
Please contact us to discuss any aspect of the scheme further - 01233 506201.
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