Sustainable farming incentive – open for business!
Today, the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) scheme has opened for applications.
The SFI is the first of the Environmental Land Management (ELM’s) schemes to be released. In the first year of the SFI, two soil standards will be introduced with farmers being paid to manage soils in ways that enhance the environment. DEFRA have also released a moorland standard, whereby farmers will be paid to assess the condition of the moorland, with further funding opportunities being promised in the future. We anticipate that the full roll out of all options and standards for SFI will available by 2025.
The application process is set to be streamlined as well, with farmers or advisers invited to apply online. With more automatic checks, it is hoped that applications will be processed and approved much quicker than is the case with other schemes. SFI agreements will last for 3 years, and payments will be made quarterly to farmers.
Please see the below table summarising the payment rates for standards available in 2022:
The RPA have confirmed that there are two avenues of applying for SFI within the initial weeks of the rollout. Those claiming BPS only can apply directly using the Rural Payments service online. However, those in BPS and with an existing stewardship scheme in place, are asked to contact the RPA who will provide further support and guidance. If this applies to you, you can either email the RPA at firstname.lastname@example.org (using ‘Apply early for SFI’ as the email subject and referencing your SBI number) or call the RPA helpline on 03000 200 301.
SFI guidance states that farmers should be able to run SFI and Mid-Tier on the same land parcels, provided that those options are not double funding.
For more information on whether your farm is eligible for this, or to discuss how SFI could work for your farm, please get in touch with us!