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The Sustainable Farming Incentive - How can I offset my reducing BPS payment?

The Sustainable Farming Incentive – How can I offset my reducing BPS payment?

With the first reduced payments of the Basic Payment Scheme now received by many farmers, the question of how the reduced payments can be offset has been asked by many.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI), due to be rolled out in mid-2024, is the first part of the post-Brexit Environmental Land Management Scheme. With a key focus on soil health and farming practices which promote this, the SFI will pay farmers between £20 and £58 per hectare for the soil standards. Within each standard are introductory, intermediate and advanced levels with payment rates reflecting the requirements of each level. These payment rates apply to the land parcels that you decide to enter into the scheme, not the area you farm in total.

The standards available will include Arable and Horticultural Soils, Improved Grassland Soils and Moorland and Rough Grazing Soils (Introductory). The aim of these standards is to ensure there are no bare soils left over winter to avoid erosion and runoff, producing soil management plans to target areas of compaction etc, assessing the structure of soils with the view of improving areas where required and the addition of organic matter to soils.

The soil standards available through the SFI will be allowed to be placed on parcels that are in a Countryside Stewardship Scheme provided that payment is not received twice for the same option.

The scheme does provide flexibility with amendments to the scheme being allowed every 12 months. This allows for you to try a few fields in the scheme, adding to it as the scheme progresses.

Whilst these payment rates are not going to replace the levels of funding received through the Basic Payment Scheme, they will assist in offsetting the reductions between 2022 and 2024.

For more information, please contact James Neame in the Bridgnorth Office.

Date: 14/12/2021

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