The Rural Payments Agency have today opened the first phase of the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) up for applications which can be made online via the Rural Payments system. SFI provides farmers with quarterly payments on three year agreements for farming in a way which promotes upkeep of the natural environment.
The standards available this year are as follows:
Arable and horticultural soils
Introductory £22 per hectare
Intermediate £40 per hectare
Improved grassland soils
Introductory £28 per hectare
Intermediate £58 per hectare
Introductory £10.30 per hectare
Additional payment £265 per agreement
Plus, an additional annual payment of £6.15 per hectare (ha) for common land entered into a separate SFI standards agreement.
These payments could top up reducing BPS payments, with additional standards expected to be introduced over the next few years, further helping to make up the loss as BPS declines. The RPA have also confirmed that additional options can be added to SFI agreements throughout their duration, as well as increasing the level chosen, and adding more land. SFI agreements are available to farmers with land currently in Countryside or Environmental Stewardship agreements, although care will need to be taken when applying to ensure that there is no double funding.
For more information please contact your local YoungsRPS rural team.
You can also access guidance online from Gov.uk here.