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Sustainable Farming Incentive – Progress Report

February 2024

Mollie Gillard, Rural Graduate from our Dorchester Office, provides an update on the advancements of the Sustainable Farming Incentive.

Basic Payment Scheme payments have gradually decreased over the last three years, and as part of the Agricultural Transition, the delinked payment phase is currently underway. As the name implies, delinked payments, with further progressive reductions until 2027, removes the link between payments and the land. The funds are being redirected into Countryside Stewardship (CS) and Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS), with a large focus of this being the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI).  When considering how to replace the lost BPS monies, SFI is now proving to be at the forefront as it has flexibility at its core with a ‘pick and mix’ approach being applied to the 23 available actions. At a glance, SFI offers a wide range of advantages over the previous schemes to include: 
  • Rolling application: There are no deadlines, and once an agreement has been accepted it will commence on the 1st of the following month 
  • Frequent Payments: Payments are to be made quarterly 
  • Tenant Encouraging: There is no requirement for Landlords consent providing the Tenant occupies management control for three years 
  • Stacking/ Incorporating: Applicants with existing CS agreements, or those in the pipeline are not at a disadvantage to run these alongside SFI. Actions can also be stacked.
  • Welcoming: SFI is non-competitive therefore anyone who qualifies and applies will be offered an agreement
  • No Penalties: Defra are redirecting away from penalties and towards a ‘best efforts’ approach if the standards are not met the payment will not be made.  

As SFI is now forming the primary scheme for UK farms to receive government support, we are aiming to keep our clients up to date with the latest reviews and developments.  The scheme itself is advancing by offering a streamline, singe application package with CS Mid-Tier which will now also have a rolling application window. The current key update is the launch of over 100 new actions due in Spring/Summer 2024. These new actions focus on a variety of new aims that may well appeal to you.

If SFI sounds inviting we have a team of experts who can assist you in gaining a sound understanding of the whole scheme. We take the time to evaluate your current farming practices as well as your future aims and motives to reflect compatible grant funding, starting with an initial site meeting. From these discussions we can prepare a tailored SFI proposal taking advantage of the funding opportunities available. 

So what can GTH do for you?
  • Provide practical advice on applying options compatible with your existing farming practices and future plans 
  • Give guidance on your current agreements and integrating them with SFI to maximise opportunities without double funding risks 
  • Keep you informed of the scheme updates throughout your agreement 
  • Manage the agreement throughout the 3 years; annual declarations, supporting evidence and considering the new actions applicable 

Our team is assisting with applications across the South West, and if you would like to explore the funding options available for you, please get in touch with our specialists in your nearest office or find more information here.

Dorset 
Dorchester 01305 268786

Somerset
Bristol, Redhill 0117 203 5577
Burnham-on-Sea 01278 765588
Chard 01460 238383
Sedgemoor 01278 410250
Yeovil 01935 415300

Devon
Honiton 01404 46222
Ivybridge 01752 393737
Tiverton 01884 243000

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