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Government releases details of Sustainable Farming Incentive 2023

| Mark Chatterton | 21 June 2023

The government have today (21 June) confirmed details of an expanded yet simplified Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) 2023.

Farmers would be paid every three months for taking actions from a range of the 23 available that contribute towards food production and improve farm productivity and resilience, which at the same time improve the environment to achieve the targets set out in the Environmental Improvement Plan.

Participating farmers will be encouraged to choose individual SFA actions which best suit their farms, with the government having confirmed that the additional actions over and above the 2022 scheme will ensure there is support for all types of farms.

How the SFI 2023 scheme has been expanded:

  • More than twice as many new SFI actions in 2023 as previously anticipated
  • Payments to be made every three months
  • A management payment of £20 per hectare for the first 50 hectares to cover participating farmers’ costs
  • A payment to cover one on-farm vet visit each year to assess livestock
  • Parity of payments across uplands and lowland areas
  • Additional payment for common land of £6.15 per hectare for groups of two or more
  • A detailed SFI 2023 handbook with confirmed payment rates and granular details of each action

How the SFI 2023 scheme has been made easier:

  • Simplified online applications meaning farmers will only be shown the options available for their particular farm
  • A less prescriptive process, allowing farmers to choose their own actions in a ‘pick and mix’ format
  • No minimum or maximum land area or hedgerow length
  • Ability to combine SFI actions with Countryside and Environmental Stewardship options

Some example payable actions in SFI 2023:

  • A payment of £10 per 100m for managing one side of a hedgerow alongside an additional £10 per 100m to maintain or establish hedgerow trees
  • £129 per hectare for multi-species cover crops
  • £589 for a nutrient management review
  • SFA management payment for all land-based SFI actions, including moorland

Furthermore, to support tenant farmers, there are shorter agreement lengths that do not require landlord consent, together with a range of actions and payments more readily accessible to those on shorter agreements.

When do applications for the SFI 2023 open?

Applications will be accepted throughout a staggered rollout in August 2023. The government have confirmed that they will contact farmers who were originally signed up to the 2022 scheme directly, as well as those who had submitted applications to advise how to access payments, benefits, and improvements to the 2023 iteration of the scheme.

Where can I find the full SFI 2023 guidance?

The Department for Farming and Rural Affairs will shortly publish the new SFI handbook for 2023, incorporating updated and expanded guidance around the SFI, including actions, payment rates, and criteria to allow farmers to join the scheme, as well as confirming which SFI actions can be taken alongside Countryside and Environmental Stewardship options.

You can read the Government’s announcement here.

If you have any concerns or questions, you should not hesitate to contact our Agriculture team who will be more than happy to help.


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