SFI Update January 2024

The government’s announcement on Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) and Countryside Stewardship (CS) Environmental Land Management in 2024 outlines several key actions and payments to support farmers in achieving environmental targets while maintaining food production.

Here is a summary of the key points from the announcement:

Key Actions in 2024:

  • Average payment rates for SFI and CS agreements will be increased by 10%.
  • Existing SFI or CS agreement holders will automatically benefit from these increases.
  • Up to 50 new actions will be introduced in the summer, expanding the scope of environmental land management schemes.
  • Actions include precision farming and agroforestry, providing more options for farmers to access scheme funding.

Flexibility and Accessibility:

  • More actions will be available for shorter 3-year agreements, benefiting tenant farmers.

Premium Payments:

  • Premium payments will be introduced for high-impact actions and combinations of actions that deliver benefits at scale.
  • Premium payment rates will be offered for 21 high-priority actions across various themes, with specified payment rates per hectare.

Contracts for Innovation:

  • Up to 5 multi-million-pound contracts, with an initial value of up to £15 million, will be awarded to promote crop innovation.
  • Payments will support agricultural technology, including robotic mechanical weeding technology.

Single Application Service:

  • Duplication between CS Mid-Tier and SFI actions will be reduced, making it easier for farmers to access services without a reduction in ambition.

Regulation Approach: Advise and Prevent:

  • A continued focus on an ‘advises and prevent’ approach across schemes and regulations.
  • Greater communication to support farmers back into compliance rather than immediate penalties.
  • Commitment to safeguarding environmental standards and animal health through proportionate regulation and outcome-based incentives.

Premium Payment Rates for High-Priority Actions (per ha):

  • Arable: Nesting plots for lapwing – £765
  • Lowland Heath: Create lowland heathland – £711
  • Lowland Peat: Raise water levels in cropped or arable peat soils – £1,409
  • Lowland Peat: Raise water levels in permanent grassland peat soils – £1,381
  • Agroforestry: Various payment rates based on density
  • Grassland, Moorland, Water, and Species: Various payment rates for specific management actions

In the latest Agricultural Transition Plan update, the government is taking significant strides towards aligning food production with environmental goals. With a 10% increase in payment rates, 50 new actions were introduced with premium payments for high-impact actions and contracts promoting crop innovation.

To explore how these initiatives can benefit your agricultural business, contact us at 01952 727007 or enquires@madeleys.co.uk. Embrace the opportunity to contribute to a greener and more resilient future for farming.