Global Agriculture

Sustainable Farming Incentive 2023: Expanded offer to roll out from August

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21 June 2023, UK: The new and improved Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) 2023 will start accepting applications in a controlled rollout from August, the government has confirmed today (21 June), offering farmers additional actions and more flexibility to choose the actions they want to get paid for.

Farmers will get paid for taking actions that support food production and improve farm productivity and resilience, while also protecting and improving the environment. Additional actions under SFI 2023 will help ensure there is an offer that is attractive and workable for all types of farms.

The 23 actions on offer cover existing themes including soil health and moorland, as well as new actions on hedgerows, integrated pest management, nutrient management, farmland wildlife, buffer strips, and low input grassland.

When adopted at scale, these actions will support sustainable food production and contribute towards the environmental targets set out in the government’s Environmental Improvement Plan. Optimising the use of nutrients through a nutrient management review, for example, will not only reduce carbon emissions and improve the natural environment but can also reduce farmers’ costs.

Farming Minister Mark Spencer said:

After listening to extensive feedback from farmers, we’ve done a huge amount to streamline and improve the Sustainable Farming Incentive, making it as simple and flexible as possible for farmers to engage with, apply for and embrace.

We want farmers to be able to access a package that works best for them. The scheme will remain flexible to allow for the changing needs and requirements of both farmers and their markets to ensure the best outcomes for food production and the natural environment.

The range of actions mean farmers could be paid from £10 per 100m for managing one side of a hedgerow (plus a further £10 per 100m to maintain or establish hedgerow trees); £129 per hectare for multi-species cover crops; or £589 for a nutrient management review.

The government has also confirmed the SFI management payment will be applied to all land-based SFI actions, including moorland, and has updated the payment rate for low input grassland action to make the rates the same for upland and lowland areas.

For tenant farmers, along with other improvements made in response to Baroness Rock’s review, there are shorter agreement lengths that do not require landlord consent. The SFI 2023 offer makes a range of actions and payments more accessible to those on short-term agreements, and includes a range of new actions not previously available in schemes.

The government’s flexible and accessible farming schemes, as well as the new measures announced at the Farm to Fork Summit last month, are supporting farmers to keep the nation fed while protecting and enhancing our environment – and are all part of the £2.4 billion annual farming budget ringfenced for the life of this parliament.

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(For Latest Agriculture News & Updates, follow Krishak Jagat on Google News)

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