26 August 2022
Are you eligible for payments?
GROWERS and land owners in England are being invited to apply for the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) , which officially launched on June 30th.
To be eligible to apply for SFI in 2022, your business must be eligible to apply for Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), so your SBI must have held at least 5 ha of BPS eligible land and five or more entitlements as of May 16th, 2022.
Some areas under existing stewardship agreements such as Countryside Stewardship, can be included in an SFI agreement, meaning applicants can maximise the revenue they receive on their land.
Similar to a CS application, you do not have to include all of your land, and there is no minimum or maximum area, but you do need to have management control over all land you enter, for the three years of the agreement.
The SFI scheme currently has a rolling application window, and any agreements entered will last for three years, with an opportunity to upgrade the standards and / or levels in your agreement at the end of the first and second years of the agreement.
Payments will be made on a quarterly basis, but agreement holders will be required to submit an annual declaration (like a claim) at the end of each agreement year, to confirm they have complied with the obligations of the agreement, and to gain access to the final quarterly payment.
If you applied for the SFI when applications opened, your SFI standards agreement should start this autumn. In this case, your first quarterly payment should be made before the end of 2022.
How to Apply
All application routes will be different for each applicant depending on their circumstances.
BPS eligible farmers who do not have an existing agri-environment agreement can sign into the Rural Payments service now to apply for SFI on eligible land outside a common.
BPS eligible farmers who have an existing agri-environment agreement, or who want to apply separately on common land, need to contact the RPA to register their interest. In this case, you can either email [email protected] (using ‘Apply early for SFI’ as the email subject and including your SBI) or call 03000 200 301 (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm, except bank holidays).
To view the full scheme guidance, click here.