Sustainable Farming Incentive
Details of the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) pilot scheme were published recently by the Government, which gives us a good insight into the final scheme.
The first phase is due to be rolled out to all BPS claimants from mid-2022 with a full launch in 2024.
Payments will be in addition to the Basic Payment Scheme and the SFI is the first tier of the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme.
The SFI scheme combines area-based payments for management changes directed at improving environmental performance of farming operations and the pilot scheme been designed around 8 initial “standards” as follows:
- arable and horticultural land standard
(£28 – £74 per hectare)
- arable and horticultural soils standard
(£26 – £60 per hectare)
- improved grassland standard
(£27 – £97 per hectare)
- improved grassland soils standard
(£26 – £70 per hectare)
- low and no input grassland standard
(£22 – £110 per hectare)
- hedgerow standard
(£16 – £24 per 100m)
- on farm woodland standard
(£49 per hectare)
- waterbody buffering standard
(£16 – £34 per 100m)
The payment rates for each are based on 3 levels: introductory, intermediate and advanced. Increasing payments depend on more demanding actions and provision of “public goods” by the farmer.
In due course, a claimant will be able to layer or stack multiple standards, such as the arable land, arable soils and hedgerow standards to one parcel, therefore increasing the value of the payments.
At first, the number of standards available will be limited, but we expect a wider roll out as the scheme progresses and the payment levels are likely to change as we move away from the EU’s approach of calculating payments based on income foregone.
In addition to the standards, there will also be an Animal Health and Welfare Pathway, which will fund yearly visits from a vet, aimed at improving livestock health and welfare.
Payments will range from £269-£775 per annum.
We will continue to keep you updated as more information becomes available.
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