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New Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) Actions for 2024 Announced

New Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) Actions for 2024 Announced

Thu 04 Jan 2024

Rural land & property
Agricultural business consultancy

The Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP announced the new Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) actions for 2024 today at the Oxford Farming Conference. The updates include funding uplifts, streamlined application processes, enhanced environmental incentives and support for the roll out of new technology.

The improvements include:

  • A 10% increase in the average value of agreements in the Sustainable Farming Incentive and Countryside Stewardship driven by increased payment rates, with uplifts automatically applied to existing agreements.
  • A streamlined single application process for farmers to apply for the Sustainable Farming Incentive and Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier.
  • Around 50 new actions that farmers can get paid for across all types of farm businesses, including actions for agroforestry and those driving forward agricultural technology such as robotic mechanical weeding.
  • Enhanced payments for ‘creation’ and ‘maintenance’ options to improve the long term incentives for farmers to create habitats and ensure they are rewarded for looking after habitats once they have created them.
  • Premium payments for actions with the biggest environmental impact or combinations of actions that deliver benefits at scale, such as £765 per hectare for nesting plots for lapwing, and £1,242 per hectare for connecting river and floodplain habitat.

Farmers are expected to be able to submit their applications for the 2024 offer from this summer, and the timeline for agreements being offered will be accelerated to help farmers benefit from the changes earlier than in previous years.

Farmers and landowners can be paid for taking a range of actions under the government’s farming schemes, such as actions to improve soil health or providing nesting and foraging habitats for farmland wildlife. The Government has introduced more ‘maintenance’ actions, alongside improving existing actions, for example through maintaining grasslands, wetlands and scrub. Farmers will also be paid more for existing actions to maintain habitats, with the price of maintaining species rich grassland, for example, rising from £182 to £646 per hectare.

The offer also includes more actions for shorter length agreements of up to three years to make the schemes more accessible for tenant farmers.

Around 8,000 farmers to date have applied to the Sustainable Farming Incentive 2023 and there has been a 94% increase in Countryside Stewardship agreements since 2020.

Read more on the Sustainable Farming Incentive and sign up for advice, or contact the Agricultural Business Consultancy team at your local office: Brown&Co offices

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